An uncommon cure for the common binge

Whenever I’m working at my computer, I reach for the junk food.

Oh sure, I try to stem this mindless urge, but it’s not easy.  Every time I fire up my computer, a rumbling murmur somewhere in my head says Feeeed meeee.

Since apparently I’m most creative while shoveling things into my mouth, I figured I should at least try shoveling healthy foods instead of empty calories. One week I tried munching carrots, ice chips and even tofu. But always by mid-afternoon, the Froot Loops were not only calling my name, they’d convinced the Twinkies, cheese puffs and baking chocolate to join the chorus.

Recently I came up with a new strategy, and I think it might be working. I put a beautiful crystal candy bowl next to my computer and filled it with snacks. Not just any snacks, mind you. These are very special snacks—crunchy and flavored like chicken.

The first time I did this, it took me less than an hour to absent-mindedly empty the dish.

Before long, however, the same bowl began taking longer to empty. These days, it lasts almost a week, sometimes longer. What this means is that I’m starting to think about what I’m doing before stuffing things in my mouth. It means my autopilot eating is slowing down. 

I figure if I keep this up, one day my mindless nibbling will be completely under control.

This’ll make a lot of people happy. Like my kids, who are tired of hearing me complain about my weight. And my therapist, who supports all (okay, some) of my zany self-improvement schemes. And definitely my dog, Buddy, who looks really confused every time I refill my candy bowl from his box of doggie treats.

–From the book Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight by Karen Linamen

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