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Do you eat in response to your external or internal cues?

Fitastic February 15, 2013

Are you trying to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your current healthful weight?  You’ll find it intriguing to keep a log of reasons behind your decisions of: what, when, where, and why you eat. Are you eating in response to internal sensations telling you that your body needs food or in response to your emotions, situation, or a prescribed diet?  Keeping a cues log for one full week would give you the most accurate picture of your eating habits.  Even logging two days of meals and snacks should increase your cue awareness.

Every day, every time you eat a meal, snack, or beverage other than water make a quick note.

When you eat: Many people eat at certain times whether they are hungry or not.

What you eat and how much: 2 oz.?  1 cup?

Where you eat: At home, dining room table, watching television, or driving in the car?

With whom you eat: Are you alone or with others?  If with others are they eating as well?  Have they offered you food?

Your emotions: Many people overeat when they are happy especially when celebrating with others some people eat excessively when they are anxious, depressed, bored or frustrated.  Still others eat as a way of denying feelings because they don’t want to identify and deal with them.  For some food becomes a substitute for emotional fulfillment.

Your sensation, what you see here or smell: Are you eating because you walked past a kitchen and spied that batch of homemade cookies or smelled coffee roasting?

After keeping a log for one week you might become aware of patterns you’d like to change or need to.  You may notice such patterns for example; you can’t walk past a snack bar without going in. Or you eat when you have high stress levels.  Instead of stifling your worries with food, sit down with a pen and paper and write down exactly what you are worried about, including steps you can take to address your concern.  The next time you approach the snake bar before going in, check with your gut?  If you’re not really hungry, then take a moment to acknowledge the strength of visual cue and walk on by.

If you don’t become familiar with your daily staple foods and keep a detailed log at least once, then you’re just not serious about your goals – you’re just guessing!  Once you’ve completed this exercise, you’ll have self-awareness and this may prompt you to take positive steps to change.

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