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The Domino Effect

By November 23, 2010 6 Comments

Post submitted by Carrie, a contributor to

Last week during bootcamp Dustin asked us to reflect on our fitness journey and share something we’ve learned. I’ve learned a couple of significant things which have been the subject of my first two blog posts. Yet strangely neither of those things were the first that popped into my head. My first thought was “Be careful!! You still have moments that get away from you.” Hmmmm….

Most days when I decide to have that piece of chocolate or ice cream with my girls, I have no problem making good, healthy choices for the remainder of my day. But there are days when I make the choice to have the treat when just one doesn’t satisfy. And worse yet, it seems on those days my mental attitude is one of “Well, you blew it, so might as well REALLY blow it.” and the downward spiral begins. What started as a few M&Ms, leads to a handful of M&Ms, then to a soda, and finally pizza delivery. I was explaining this to my husband and he called it the “domino effect”. Seems pretty fitting….a chain reaction that starts with one small thing and seems impossible to stop.

Why is it some days I manage my treats and cravings with success and other days I seem to unravel? Sadly, it has taken me years to figure this out. I always understood I was an emotional eater, but didn’t give it much more thought than that. I finally discovered my “domino effect” moments seem to occur when I’m angry or full of anxiety. As I was having one of these moments my husband asked me why the crappy food helped me feel better. I was dumbfounded!! I couldn’t answer his question, I just knew it did. So I started to think about it and I think I have discovered why. When I am angry or anxious, it is usually over things I cannot control. Things aren’t going how I would like and it is upsetting to me. I guess my eating in these moments/moods is me getting my way…I can do what I want and I DON’T CARE! Pretty childish, right?? I know!! Now that I understand the problem, my next step in this discovery process is how to break this cycle. How do I get over that “I don’t care” attitude?

After some brainstorming and researching, I ended up with the following strategies to try:

1. As I continue to go for the junk, try reminding myself I am in complete control of what I choose to eat, so why not choose the very best for myself.

2. Get away from the junk and get busy. Clean, go get the mail, take a walk, pay bills, answer email.

3. Eliminate the problem foods completely from the house.

4. Learn to accept what I cannot control. If I can head off the anger and anxiety, I can possibly avoid the “domino effect” altogether.

As I’m working to change my behaviors, I would love to hear from you: 

Have you had “domino” moments? What strategies have you used to overcome them?