Do you ever find yourself just eating for no particular reason? It happens to me after a voice in my head tells me to snack. You need something sweet. You need something crunchy. How about a bedtime snack? I call this voice The Obsession. While the Obsession can crop up at any time of day, for me, the urge is strongest in that quiet time between dinner and bedtime.
Here’s the scenario: you’ve just had supper. The family is fed, the kitchen is clean, and you’re finally sitting down after a long day to unwind before bed. And it happens. The Obsession. There’s a niggle in your brain and it only wants one thing: to snack. It doesn’t want you to pay attention to what you’re eating. In fact, the best case for this Obsession is that you watch TV so you barely know how much snacking you’ve really done.
Why do we do this? There are lots of emotions that drive us to eat beyond our comfort level. Just like you, I know when I am eating mindlessly and endlessly. I will be writing more about what’s happening when we are eating emotionally, but in this case, I want to talk about those moments when you just want to snack. There doesn’t seem to be any emotional reason bubbling at the surface. You just want to “stuff your face,” so to speak.
So you do. You just give into the voice because the food tastes good and the act of snacking is satisfying. So why is it so easy to give in?
The obvious reason is the food will taste good. Junk food sets off all kinds of pleasure centers that we continually crave. Studies have shown that sugar acts the same way drugs do in the brain. And once you start, it’s difficult to stop. But I believe that’s the secondary reason you give in.
I believe the number one reason we give into the Obsession is because we don’t want to hear it anymore. That niggling voice that says I want it, I want it, I want it, is like a hammer in your head. It’s persistent and loud. So you give into it and eat the nighttime snack just to Shut. It. Up.
In that way, I feel some relief. I don’t need that snack that I crave. I know this because I never feel good afterwards. It’s this obsessive voice that I can’t get rid of.
There may be a better way to deal with these kind of obsessive thoughts. In a form of therapy called Mindfulness Therapy (how perfect, right?), therapists believe that thoughts, particular negative ones, don’t need to be contradicted. Instead, those negative thoughts can be gently pushed aside. Imagine holding a book in your hands. This represents your negative thoughts, or in this case, the Obsession. Now hold the book in front of your face. Now it’s right in your line of vision, blocking out everything else. It’s hard to ignore it when it’s right there, isn’t it? Mindfulness therapy teaches people how to gently push the book out of the way so that it’s no longer in their line of vision. It’s still there, but in the peripheries.
I’ve been dealing with this obsessive voice for my entire life. I know you have too. So instead of giving into it or violently resisting, what if we just gently move the voice aside? Lovingly, gently, mindfully. Soon, it won’t mind that it’s not in the spotlight.
Is the Obsession voice something that you deal with too? I want to hear from you. Tell me about your experience. What times do you feel most vulnerable to snacking? How have you dealt with it in the past? Click this link and let me know in the comments below.
Until next time!