Emotional Eating: Decision Fatigue


You know what happens – you’ve been busy ALL DAY, and you’re just tired and need to eat.  OR you’ve been working, and you’ve made decision after decision, and you’re spent before you have decided on what to have for lunch or dinner.

We get decision fatigue.  We have limited willpower for a day, and if we spend it making other decisions, we have little left for food choices.  Small decisions are costly, so simplify as much as possible to save willpower.

You’ve likely seen it in action in other areas.  One example is the concept of the capsule wardrobe where you reduce choices drastically.  Many celebrities wear the same style of clothes day after day, but they have slight variations like color.  Steve Jobs took it a step further and wore only jeans with a black mock-turtleneck.  Keeping it simple helps reduce decision fatigue.

To apply to emotional eating and/or weight loss, identify where you easily get off track or what will sabotage your efforts. Some choose to have the same meals, some create a menu for the month so they don’t have to make a decision when they’re tired and hungry.   Another method is creating some rules for common stumbling blocks.

Vending Machines and Convenience Stores:  So much temptation. So convenient.  We can’t get rid of them, so what rule would help you? 

My rule is:  I buy only nuts or something like jerky, filling and on plan.  Of course, that eliminates most vending machines, but not looking at options also reduces temptation.

Free Food at Work:  When food is free, it’s seldom healthy.  Make the best choices you can.

My rule is:  I don’t take free food at work.  It has saved me being tempted by a lot of cake and bagels as my automatic response is, “No, thank you.” I may make an exception if the free food fits my plan, but that doesn’t happen very often.  Over time, others will accept your lifestyle choices and stop goading you to have the “sucre de jour.”

Sugar:  If you’re an abstainer, just say no.  If you’re a moderator, know where your limits are. 

When I was cutting sugar out of my life, I needed a bridge to help me get there.  My rule was:  I only have sugar on Sundays.  It worked well for me until I could see how different I felt after having that Sunday sugar. It made it easy to stop.  It’s not that I never have sugar, but it’s an exception I hold for holidays or situations where declining would be very rude or hurtful. 

I still pay for it when I have sugar, mind, but I learned how to manage it.

More next week.  Please share yours with me here:  [email protected]

When you’re ready to overcome your self-sabotage and emotional eating, send me a message here:  [email protected].  We can get you where you want to go.

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