“Take of anxiety can easily be washed away

“Take me out to the ball
game, take me out with the crowd… Let me root, root, root for the home team.”,
words by Albert Von Tilzer. Even though this song is about baseball games, it
is a perfect representation of my feelings towards soccer games. As a member of
the supporter group for the Orlando City Soccer Club, Ruckus, regular game
attendance is a part of my nature. But, attending these games has resulted in a
habit that I desperately need to change. My habit is overeating on game day,
for which the cue is being present tailgates and games where cravings are
activated, the routine is buying and eating the food, and the reward is
satisfying the ‘hunger’, which is more of a brain façade of hunger rather than
actual hunger. I would like to stop this because it is very unhealthy.

My habit cue is being
present at tailgates and games and going out to eat afterward regularly. I
usually arrive at the tailgate 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., according to how late in the
afternoon the actual game is scheduled. Sometimes, 12-hour tailgates can be
planned and I end up being there from 7 in the morning. These games take place
at the Orlando City Soccer Stadium, and the tailgate is about two blocks away
at an open lot from the stadium itself. I usually attend these games with my
family and friends who are also a part of the group. The feeling of being in
such a large group can be overwhelming, but that feeling of anxiety can easily
be washed away by excitement which can easily be replaced by annoyance or
disappointment if the game’s result is not a good one. The aroma, sight or even
hearing the word ‘food’ can be the cue that triggers the hunger.

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My habit routine is
buying the food and then eating this food even if I am not hungry because I am
bored with no one sober to talk to. The colorful food trucks call out to me
with their bright signs and great deals as I walk up to them with my money in
hand ready to conduct the trade. Devouring the food is my next step and
instinct and I waste no time in getting to that. Once inside the stadium, the
aroma of the not so healthy food fills my nostrils and trigger the façade of
hunger my brain provides. I find myself waiting in line anxiously to receive
the savory delights, this happens either before the game starts or during
halftime. Personally, I think that eating at any point at all in the stadium is
not necessary. The prices are ridiculous, a small 9-inch Papa John’s pizza
costs at least ten dollars and with that same amount I can get a large one
outside the stadium at any Papa John’s location and receive change. Sticking to
drinking hydrating liquids, eating small snacks can satisfy my cravings and
keep me grounded until the game has ended. Although, a post-game tradition we
usually have is going to Gringos Locos, a Mexican restaurant, to eat. Usually,
this restaurant is where I blow off steam and cool down from the excitement of
the game. I often order more food than I can handle and end up wasting it and
money.

My habit reward is
satisfying my “hunger”. My brain’s go-to response for whatever I’m
feeling is hunger so I may think that I am hungry but in reality, I may just be
bored. Although, after each of the many times I eat in the day I feel satisfied
but at the back of my head I knew I ate too much, but because the habit has
developed, by the time another cue is presented the knowledge of eating too
much is completely shut out and I’m back to seeking that reward again.
Sometimes, well most of the times, the food can be so good that it’s impossible
to resist and not give in. I may even try to eat healthily, but at a soccer
game that’s very close to near impossible which may not be good for me.

The habit of buying food
and overeating at games, where the cue is cravings, the routine is buying and
eating and the reward is satisfying hunger, to not feel hungry is very bad, a
waste of money and unhealthy. This habit needs to change, rapidly.  When I go to a game, I need to become aware
and take control of my mind and understand what I’m doing and what’s going on.
I need to tell myself that I will only eat before and/or after the game. This
would give me that sense of control I’m looking for. Eating maybe thirty
minutes before the game where my stomach feels full and I’m fully satisfied
should allow me to resist the cravings of eating during. Once I’m able to
resist the temptations I will become in control of my habit and thus change it
and that’s the goal I’m going for.