For me, snack attacks are triggered by ANY strong emotion, positive or negative…and that includes boredom. Again, my mother’s attitudes rear their ugly heads as I sort this out. She takes great pride in saying, “Only boring people are bored!” Since boredom is not only physically painful, but cognitive study suggests boredom is indeed not the result of a childish entitlement to entertainment, but an early warning sign of depression and depressive behaviors. So “I’m bored” is really “I’m mildly depressed and disengaged.”
And how do I stifle any depression or disengagement? I eat it. I eat it in the form of chips and cheese, in the form of ice cream and junk food, in the form of any snacky thing I might get my hands on. I recognized one post-divorce “friendship” was a problem when I recognized that every time I spent time with this guy, I stopped off after to buy cheese puffs, because I wanted to eat away the unpleasant feelings that came from spending time with him.
I also respond the same way to celebration. Major accomplishments call for food, and usually something excessive. Why? Just as I don’t know how to handle my lows, I don’t know how to handle my highs. Any particularly happy moments for me were hidden from my family whenever possible: if I was happy or had something I cherished, I hid my feelings about it from them so no one could take that cherished thing away from me. Better to eat my feelings than to show them.
Even now, I am back from a pleasant walk and lunch with a dear friend. I am happy, and in the afterglow. My first thoughts? What’s in the fridge? I’ve already eaten – there’s no reason to reach for anything in the fridge! Instead, I’ve come over here to do the blog post…and I do need something to drink.