Doritos Are (Unfortunately) Not A Long Term Strategy for Anxiety
If my twenties had a sponsor, it would have been Doritos. If I had my branding game on point, I would have just asked them to sponsor my life for the next 10 years, softening the blow of my Quarter-Life Crisis (QLC) by providing a passive income as I attempted to start my life over from scratch with the added bonus of free Doritos. But nope - just a steady stream of panic, and an estimated $13,000 burned in a cloud of orange dust. All this to say that retrospectively, binge-eating bag after bag of God’s gift to sad, avoidant people (while absolutely delicious and at times more satisfying than some sexual encounters) is not a helpful long term strategy in making sh*t happen.
Stress eating is something that’s rarely discussed in relation to self development, and productivity, but it’s something that we all need to think about as it negatively impacts our entire energy system, while reinforcing a behavioural and thought cycle of comfort, procrastination, and an ever widening gap of self-doubt. While it’s important to not shame yourself for stress eating (we all do it, it’s human - and there’s nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence), it’s also important to think about the reasons behind your stress eating, and how it’s related to your end-game - where you want to steer your life.
Why You Are Stress Eating
There are 3 kinds of behaviour: instinctive, intentional, and automatic. Stress eating isn’t an intentional behaviour since it feels like the only choice we have when it’s happening, when in reality there are several other choices available to us that would be better for our development. It also isn’t an instinctual behaviour since our human instinct is to eat only as much as we need, and we are usually conscious that the decision we are making to eat these counter productive foods is not something we necessarily need for our bodies to function. This makes stress eating an automatic behaviour that is learned over the years in order to cope with emotions or situations we aren’t prepared to tackle.
Think about all the times you reach for a snack. That bag of Doritos. The cookies, the chocolates, the cinnabon. Whatever your snack of choice is it doesn’t matter, all that matters is the behaviour and the reason behind it. Mostly likely, you were reaching right at the moment you didn’t know what to do next. You were stuck on a thought. You didn’t know what to write next, or who to date next, or what to do next in your career, and felt overwhelmed by all the steps to get to these things, or flat out thought that it was hopeless.
The Delicious Self-Doubt Cycle
Enter Doritos, to fill the gap between inaction and action. It’s something, but it’s nothing. The space we could be using to launch into our next lives is filled with the act of Panic Doritos. Panic Doritos are the way we start to feel like we are doing something about our situation, our discomfort, but actually end up in a self-doubt spiral.
The act of eating to cope with emotional or situational discomfort is the easiest choice, but has long lasting impacts and further solidifies a pattern that is so ingrained it actually seems like it’s part of your personality, when it’s just something you do to avoid the ‘becoming’ process of who you could potentially be. It’s a distraction. A dis-traction. A slipping away from your natural pull towards where you ultimately belong. These slips, accumulated, and repeated consecutively create a pattern of not only slipping, but the shame that follows having slipped. Then, the guilt of not having stayed course, and the panic that now we feel farther away from where we belong.
Choosing The Other Option(s)
We don’t reserve this behaviour cycle to junk food - we do it with all other trash we consume. Social media, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, our lousy ex or otherwise inappropriate lover. Humans, especially today in our insta-fix world, go for convenience. And similar to all those other things that we recognize as patterns that we can moderate or quit cold turkey, so too can we disempower the urge to emotional eat by choosing, intentionally, to be healthier people in mind and body.
Every time we intentionally choose to put away the junk despite our urges, delaying gratification instead of filling it with empty action, we start to create new (healthy, productive, and purposeful) patterns. That’s exciting AF, and something to think about the next time you reach for the trash that’s ruining your self-esteem. Create systems to keep your vices out of your life. Make them less accessible. Distance yourself, don’t let it in your house, block yourself, unfollow - do what you need to do to remove the negative option, and anchor the positive choice by reinforcing how f*cking awesome you are for doing something good for yourself that day, that week, that month, that year, and the rest of your goddamn life. Eat your Doritos like you sip champagne.
Clear space in your pantry. Remove the items you don’t want to indulge in and get distracted by, making them less accessible and less likely for you to use.
Spend a day simply noticing when you reach for those distractions. Moving forward, when you reach for those things, remind yourself also of how you feel afterwards.
Listen to Productivity Tricks with Noah Kagan