Busy Doing Nothing
January 22, 2016
One of the interesting “side effects” of being on a mission to “whittle my waist” has been how much I’m learning about myself.
I’ve discovered things that seem to have absolutely no connection with weight loss.. but which are very definitely connected to how well or badly my “journey” is going.
I learned very early on that what goes on in my head is just as, if not more, important as what goes in my mouth but I have now also realised that my hand play an important role too.
I used to think that I was a “comfort eater”… but have latterly realised that it is my tendency to “boredom” eat which has the most detrimental effect on an expanding midriff.
I have always known that in times of stress my brain reacts in one of two ways… I either lose my appetite completely (usually when I’m deeply upset or sad) or I reach for junk food by way of comfort (particularly when I’m angry or in a depressed mood). To combat this (and forgive me for using the “cliche word of the moment…) I’ve become “mindful” of my moods. I can now take a step back from what’s going in my head and realise that my mood has sent me into one of my “danger zones”… and by being aware of it I can take conscious action to make sure I don’t just go back to my “default settings” of the past.
It was by doing this that I realised that another trigger for me is boredom – but what was really surprising was that boredom for me isn’t when I’m actually “doing nothing”… it’s when I’m doing something that isn’t occupying my brain enough. I’ve realised that if I sit in front of the television “half watching” something… my mind wanders to the possibility of whether there might be a rogue packet of cashew nuts lurking at the back of the kitchen cupboard and before I know it I’ve had a rummage around and am munching something I don’t need to be eating (because usually, if the cashew’s can’t be found… I will happen upon something else that will do nicely for “boredom eating”)…
In the past I simply made sure that I could only find “waist-whittling-friendly” foodstuff in my cupboard/fridge/freezer but I’ve realised that this didn’t actually tackle my tendency to eat when I’m bored so now I’m taking positive, conscious action each time the “I want something to eat” message reaches my brain. Firstly I have a glass of water… despite my best efforts I don’t drink as much water as I should and I’m aware that often my “hunger” is “thirst”. If after 15 minutes my mind is still focussing on food rather than whatever is on the screen in front of me, I’m trying to turn off whatever it is I’m sat in front of (as it is obviously not holding my attention) and doing something else instead. Sometimes the “something else” is practical – sorting out the bathroom cabinet or reuniting my extensive collection of “Tupperware” with the correct lids. Other times I find doing a jigsaw very useful… not only is my mind occupied but my hands are too (and I find I like peace and quiet so it’s very restful too). However my favourite “distraction” is nail varnish… the good old fashioned base coat; two layers of colour; top coat method. It takes up to half an hour for the various coats to dry during which time I’m loathe to do anything that might smudge my handiwork. If, when I’ve finished and have immaculately manicured hands, I am still hungry.. then I will reach for the apple/banana/ low fat yoghurt.. but nine times out of ten the “feeling for food” has gone… as has my boredom…
A friend of mine swears by a handy book of pocket crosswords…wedged down the side of her armchair; whilst Lovely Husband has discovered a set of “Sherlock Holmes” missions on his computer.. which keep him endlessly occupied and distracted from raiding the biscuit barrel. He used to get concerned that when he was doing this he was “wasting time” or “doing nothing”… and, yes, there are more “active” ways of distraction.. but sometimes, even with the will in the world, doing a 20 minute workout or going for a run or spending half an hour in the kitchen preparing meals for the week ahead…are not what you want to distract yourself with... sometimes it’s okay to distract yourself with sedentary pursuits that may not engage the whole body.. but keep the mind occupied. It may seem that you are “doing nothing”.. and sometimes keeping your mind “busy doing nothing” is absolutely the right thing to do.
Have a great WLR week you amazing people!
With a hug
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