Opportunity eating can be eating food just because it’s available:
- Your co-worker bakes brownies for everyone at work and leaves them in the break room.
- The holidays roll around and the wide variety of food, and food abundance, leads to eating more.
However there is another type of opportunity eating; I like to call it “let me eat in peace!” It’s where we feel self conscious about our food choices and don’t want to eat much (or eat specific foods) in front of others. Some times this triggers opportunity eating (or opportunity binge eating).
You have a window of privacy and you seize it to eat. You may not be hungry. You may not be in the mood for the type of food available. However you may feel the strong urge to eat, thinking “this is my chance to eat this without anyone judging me.” This may be a thinking error getting in the way of adopting a healthy lifestyle.
How does one get around this thinking error? Practice. It may be helpful to make a point of eating some of these challenging foods with other people. Not to prove anything to them but instead to prove it to ourselves that it’s OK, and that most of the time the judgment is coming from us, not from others. That’s not to say that others never judge our food choices, but that’s an entirely different topic that deserves to be tackled at another time.
Can anyone relate to this pattern of worrying so much about what others think that we feel the need to hide eating? Have you found any creative ways to minimize opportunity eating?