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Friday, January 9, 2009

Breaking the Evening Eating Habit

Wouldn't it be great if you could read just one Daily Bites tip and
suddenly your evening eating habit would vanish? What if it were
that easy? Would you be ready and willing to make that change, if you
knew it were possible?

Think about that for a moment: What if you could change a habit, simply
by changing your mind? Our minds get stuck in possibility loops, much
like we tell ourselves we're not good at math, or hate board games, or
don't like vegetables or ... what are your identity beliefs? Once you
decide you are ready, then you can

Break The Nighttime Eating Habit

Are you an evening eater? Would you like to break the habit, once and
for all? If the answer is an unqualified yes, meaning you do intend to
end this habit, right here, right now, not tomorrow, not maybe someday,
but now, then read on. If you're not quite ready, then wait until you
are and pull this out again then.

Before you begin, realize breaking the evening eating habit (or any
habit) doesn't mean you can never eat in the evening again. It means
you'll no longer believe you don't have control and you can choose
once in awhile (even once a week, but not nightly) to eat in the

Now examine your pattern for running the Evening Eating Routine.
Tonight, immediately following dinner (or your last meal) start taking
notes, writing down your thoughts, what you do, what you say, what
you think, what you feel. Write down as much as you can, as this will
give you important clues into your actual pattern. Dictate your
thoughts if that works better for you.

Example of Steps to Change a Habit:

FIRST: Name the habit: Eating in front of the TV from 8:00 PM until bed.

SECOND: List the steps:

1. After dinner, I wash dishes, and already I'm thinking about snacks
for later.

2. I wrap and put away leftovers, mentally noting when I'll eat them.

3. I put away the other things and notice what's in the kitchen for snacks.

4. I tell myself I'm not going to eat anything else tonight.

5. I go out to the living room and sit down in my usual chair.

6. I decide what shows to watch, and talk with my husband.

7. The first commercial comes on about burgers or chicken or something
to eat and I start feeling a gurgling in my stomach.

8. I think to myself that I couldn't possibly be hungry already.

9. I tell myself, "No, I'm not going to eat."

10. Another commercial comes on, and I'm getting up out of my chair, and
asking my husband if he wants anything from the kitchen.

11. My husband says, "What are you going to have?"

l2. I think, Oh, I wasn't going to have anything but I don't want him to
be disappointed, so I think of something to offer him. "How about ice
cream?" Now, he's smiling, he's happy, I'm happy, I go to get HIM some
ice cream.

13. While spooning out the ice cream, it looks so good, so creamy, so
lickable, that I try a small spoonful. That was good, so I give him an
extra big bowl full, then I think, a small amount won't hurt, so I start
to give myself a small bowl full, then I think, that doesn't look like
much, so I eat spoonfuls while I keep adding to the bowl, eating,
adding, eating, adding, now it looks like there's not much left in the
carton and so I put that in my bowl. Mine looks a little oversized so
I eat a bit off the top to even it out.

14. I carry both bowls to the living room, deciding which to give my
husband. He says, "Thanks, honey," and I say, "You're welcome."
I'll start my diet tomorrow.

Sound familiar? Who'd have thought there were so many steps? How to end
this cycle of insanity? Easy, use EFT before, during and after the first
sign of trouble. You can do the EFT while you're taking notes, or take
notes tonight, and then do the process tomorrow. The more often you do
the exercises the easier it gets to *remember* to do it, and that's
when the fun begins.

In the example above, the first sign of trouble was while doing the
dishes; thoughts were already starting about of future eating. Have
you done that? You're full from a big meal, but thinking about the
next already?

LASTLY: Put your EFT plan into action. Tonight, when the first thoughts
of snacking start, try the above. You can have it later if you still
want it.

Setup: "Even though I always eat after dinner, I deeply and completely
accept myself."

"Even though I can't stop eating after dinner, I deeply and completely
accept myself."

"Even though I want to eat after dinner, I deeply and completely accept

Round 1: Eating after dinner
Round 2: This remaining eating after dinner problem

Note: If you aren't yet familiar with EFT and this is all nonsense to
you, just get the materials and get started (links below).

Breaking Habits Takes Effort

Habits are not hard to break but they do take effort. You are used to
doing something in the same way, time after time. When you attempt to
change what you are doing, your brain will object--it wants things to
run according to plan. Your brain is not especially fond of change,
but it's happy to create any new habits, if you give it a chance.
Once the new habits have become the norm, your brain will work to
protect those as well.

While you're breaking the eating at night pattern, you may experience
what feels like hunger. Go ahead and experience it. You won't pass
out, it's not painful. Just experience it, and write down any thoughts,
or tap right then and there on them:

"Even though I don't think I can resist eating, I deeply and
completely accept myself."

"Even thought it feels like I'm starving, I deeply and completely
accept myself."

"Even though my stomach is gurgling, I deeply and completely
accept myself."

"Even though I can't do this, I deeply and completely accept myself."

"Even though I can't stand this feeling of being hungry, I deeply
and completely accept myself."

Learning to feel "hunger" and simply experiencing it can be an
enlightening experience. If you think you can't do it, do a round of
EFT on that thought ("I can't be hungry, it's too painful"), take a
deep breath, a few sips of water. Sigh, roll your shoulders, loosen
the tension.

Then re-rate your desire, and do another round of EFT. You can eat
after you're done - it's okay - but do the EFT, and continue doing
it until you either reduce the desire or you just plain decide
you're going to eat anyway.

How Long Will This Take?

Continue using EFT on the Evening Eating Habit for the next week
(seven full days), at least three times a day. You'll know when
you no longer need it because the idea of eating at night out of
habit will no longer make sense to you. You'll start enjoying a
snack occasionally, and not having anything on other days.

You'll notice the idea of eating pops in your mind, but it's
somehow different now. You'll notice something has shifted, changed,
but what is it? You'll even try to see if you can get back the old
familiar feeling, but you might not be able to do so.

What you'll start to notice is your desire is lessening. It's true.
Give it a try. EFT works well enough that you may find your desire is
diminished but you still want to eat anyway. That's okay, it's justanother aspect to tackle, i.e. eating as an activity.