For my Health Psychology Course, I have to create a behavior change plan. I thought I’d share it here:
I. Goal Setting
The behavior I am choosing to change night eating. (Eating past 9 PM, with the exception of structured dorm events. I will also allow myself to eat a fruit or vegetable at night.) My short term goal for the duration of this assignment is to reduce mindless eating to four or fewer nights a week. My long-term goal reduce mindless eating to twice or fewer nights a week. Though this behavior may never be eliminated completely, it can certainly be reduced significantly.
II. Knowing the Context and Creating the Steps
Mood is one powerful driving force that causes night eating. I may eat when I’m bored, angry, stressed out, or depressed. I also have a tendency to eat when I’m alone, sitting in front of the TV or computer, and sometimes while studying.
My compelling forces are my desire to be healthy, desire to feel better about myself, and desire to spend less money on snack food. The majority of this food is not purchased in grocery stores, but at vending machines on impulse.
One strategy I will use to prevent the behavior is changing my environment to alter the context the behavior occurs in. I will eat snacks in the kitchen or student lounge, instead of in my room. Or if I do eat in my room, I will eat with my door open. I am also considering putting a sheet or table cloth over my food shelf, and fruits and vegetables in plain sight.
I may also take my professor’s suggestion of putting previously purchased snacks into serving sized bags/containers.
Another strategy is the practice of mindful eating. By turning off the computer and TV while eating, and taking a break from studying, I will be present in the moment and fully enjoy the experience of eating.
I will eat three meals and three health or well-proportioned snacks each day.
I will be recording what I eat three days a week and monitor my calories, because this is already required in my cardio aerobic strength training class.
IV. Keeping Track of Progress and Giving Yourself Rewards
To keep track of my progress, I will put a sticker on my calendar for every day I don’t night eat, which I will define as eating past 9 PM. (Unless I am at a campus event or party, or I am eating a fruit or a vegetable as a healthy snack).