Impulse Control

Understanding your health better

Impulses are thoughts that inspire behaviour. One of the first steps towards being able to manage our behaviour is to understand the factors that trigger us to behave in certain ways. We often turn to food, not because we are hungry, but because we are influenced by the

environment or situation.

Environmental factors include sights, smells, sounds, advertising and convenience. Are you buying that cinnamon bun because you are hungry or can you not just resist the smell?

We can also be influenced by social events. For example, it has become the cultural norm to catch up with friends over coffee and cake. It is important to limit events such as these and others that will hinder your weight loss. This does not mean that you must avoid social events all together, but rather that you create a different social activity such as going for a walk along the beach with your friend.

Another influence that may have you turning to the fridge is your emotions. Many different emotions impact upon your eating behaviour. Anger, frustration, boredom, loneliness, guilt and happiness may lead to some individuals overeating, whilst others may restrict their intake without realizing it at these times.

To overcome these impulses, remember the following:

Most urges do not last longer than 10-15 minutes, so keep yourself busy until you no longer feel the need to eat.

Try the following to keep yourself occupied when feeling the need to eat in between meals:

· Drink a glass of water.

· Go for a short walk around the block.

· Play with your pet.

· Call a friend.

· Do some gardening.

· Paint your nails.

· Have a bath.

· Have a cup of herbal tea.

· Take a few deep breaths and do some gentle stretching.

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