We’ve all got that drawer – and maybe for some of us it isn’t a drawer; maybe it’s a pile of mess on a rarely-used surface, but mine is a drawer. This is the space that prevents me appearing on Extreme Hoarding or whatever it’s called. In it, we find batteries with various levels of power, pin badges supporting campaigns that took place sometime before 2008, and a box of tiny, useless tampons I panic-bought one afternoon. (Seriously, they look like they belong in Barbie’s handbag.)
What links all of these things is my belief that they might one day come in handy. This is not a junk drawer, it’s a drawer of potential usefulness. And I thought I could apply this to food too.
Enter the Jar of Distraction.
This is relatively easy to put together and it can work not just for mindless eating, but for worry or nail biting or indeed any habit you’d like to break. First, you’ll need a jar. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it can be a used jam jar if that’s what you have, but I had a pretty one going begging and sometimes, the selection of the jar can be a distraction method of its own. Secondly, you’ll need Post-It notes. Or lacking these, you could tear up strips of paper and fold them over.
Your next job is to write on these Post-Its. You’ll need a couple of ways to spend the time between the craving and its passing. I’ll give you the 25 activities that can be found in my jar, but this is something that’s really fun to make personal and adapt so go to town.
- File and paint your nails
- Go for a walk around the block (with or without the dogs)
- Play fetch with the hounds
- Try on some clothes
- Knit. I want a Weasley jumper by Christmas.
- Call someone
- Take a bath
- Organise your wardrobe
- Buy some seeds and plant something
- Organise the expanding junk drawer. Try to throw some of those badges away.
- Put on your most embarrassing music and dance along like a lunatic.
- Clean. And I don’t mean tidy; I mean deep clean.
- Write a weightloss Haiku
- Take the camera somewhere beautiful and snap away.
- Work out like you’re in training to be Wolverine
- Sort out your bookshelves and try to make all of the books fit.
- Empty your bag and throw out rubbish and receipts
- This is material. Write about it.
- Write. Write, write, write. Anything, but preferably let’s get that book written.
- Sit down with a good book and while away the hours
- Plait your hair
- Clear out your stationary drawer. Dispose of old pens, scrap paper, etc.
- Plan summer – make a list of places you want to go.
- Brush your teeth. It’s amazing how unappetising it makes everything.
- That crossword isn’t going to complete itself.
When I feel like I want to eat, but I’m not hungry, I pull out one of these at random and complete the “task” to level-up. I’ll let you know how it goes.