Behaviour chains and how to break them, another example

When you are ready to break a negative behaviour chain that is leading you to overeat, it’s very important for you to be able to identify the triggers for certain behaviours.

Take a typical day at work.

It’s a regular morning meeting time, and you are feeling a bit peckish (this is an internal trigger). Tea is served with biscuits (an external trigger). You take one biscuit since it’s kept right in front of you (external trigger). The biscuit was quite sweet and you feel slightly angry at yourself for having eaten it (internal trigger: anger). Since you are a bit angry, you pick up two more biscuits almost without thinking and eat them. By the end of the meeting, your total calorie intake has shot up to as much as 500 calories

And it’s not even lunch yet.

Now break the behaviour chain by identifying strategies to deal with triggers — both internal as well as external ones.

Retracing the steps for the typical day at work:

What happens Trigger Strategy
It’s a regular morning meeting time, and you are feeling a bit peckish Feeling peckish — internal trigger You get up from your desk and go for a drink of water at the water cooler. Ignoring the urge to do something is a good way to deal with it
Tea is served with biscuits. The biscuits are kept in plain sight and make you feel like eating something External trigger Ask for support to remove the trigger. Speak to the person who serves. Or your colleagues.
You are still peckish since people around you are munching on something Internal trigger You have had the foresight (and just 5 extra minutes) to pack in a small bag of roasted Bengal gram (chana). So you dig into that instead. You could have also had a heavy breakfast reducing the possibility of you feeling hungry
The biscuit was quite sweet and you feel slightly angry at yourself for having eaten it Internal trigger — anger 1. Observe what’s happening with you — the act of eating a biscuit leading to the feeling of getting angry. After all, one biscuit will not derail your weight loss plans. Remember your weekly Slims? 2. Focus on something else to help get over this feeling
Since you are a bit angry, you pick up two more biscuits almost without thinking and eat them. Internal trigger — anger 1. As a habit, pick up food that you should not be eating in very small quantities (a small piece of the biscuit) and take atleast 2 minute gaps before reaching out for more 2. Stop eating. Walk away from the situation

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