Retracing your steps to find your triggers

Many of you have heard of the phrase ‘domino effect’. This section will show you how to start viewing your eating as a sequence of events that contain many links, and then, how to break this sequence at any given point.

Take an ordinary snack that is eaten very often by many of us: eating potato chips with friends at the movies. Before you reached into that pack of chips, many other things have already happened: you have gone for the film straight from work and therefore are hungry, your friends have already bought the snack and are now sharing it with you, and you don’t have any alternative food available at that point. The chain of events leading up to that handful of chips could be broken at any of these points. The more links you break, and the earlier in the chain you break them, the easier it will be to control eating.

Let’s go back to that pack of potato chips. You were thinking of buying yourself an apple at the junction before the cinema hall, but you were late for the movie. By the time you reached, your stomach was growling with hunger because you had skipped a good lunch since you had to leave early for the movie. So when the pack of potato chips was offered, it was the first tasty thing you had seen in the last 5 hours, and you finished the pack.

In all, there are 8 steps in this entire sequence.

(1) You did not plan the day in advance, and therefore:
(2) You forgot to pack yourself an easy-to eat, nutritious lunch and snacks the previous night, so:
(3) You made do with canteen-bought snacks for lunch, which
(4) You didn’t like so much so couldn’t finish, and so
(5) You were hungry even at lunchtime, which left you
(6) Very hungry by the time you reached the movie hall, where
(7) You were offered potato chips, which
(8) You ate.

Are you an innocent victim of an inevitable chain of events, or can you do something to break the chain? As you can guess from the question itself, there are many options available to break the chain.

Breaking the chain

Step How to break it
Did not plan Spend just 2-5 minutes creating a written food plan for the next day
Forgot to pack lunch and snacks Use the high-motivation period following the writing of the plan to quickly cook yourself a low calorie lunch and carrot sticks as a snack
Making do with bought lunch Buy fruits like apples, pears, papaya that are low calorie and yet filling
Didn’t like lunch Buy foods that you find tasty and yet don’t compromise on your diet. Many stores, even the smallest, sell roasted chana, for instance, that many of us like.
Were hungry even after lunch Drink a tall glass of water to fill you up till you get to a healthy eating option
Very hungry by evening Avoid hunger pangs by munching on anytime-anywhere foods like an apple, an orange, a pear.
Offered potato chips Say no. Buy yourself a healthy snack – and even movie halls have plain popcorn without oil or butter
Eating potato chips Stop, say no. Eat your own snacks beforehand.


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