When Emotional Eating Catches You By Surprise
March 16, 2012 25 Comments
My dear husband left for 10 days yesterday on a well deserved trip. (That isn't actually of photo of him :)
He is my partner in many things. He does a lot of the childcare, cleaning, and cooking that happens with a small family.
Without him, I will work REALLY hard and if I'm not careful - I will be completely overwhelmed. And, of course, I will miss his company, his encouragement, and his calm demeanor.
Many people asked me if I was getting any help for his time away. That WOULD be a good idea.
But instead of asking for help - a mere hour after he left, I found myself at a bakery staring at one of these:
(Actually, the one I was staring at was apple - but you get the idea.) It wasn't until I reached the car with this PIE that I realized what I had done.
My choice was either cry or laugh - so I chose laugh. He left, I was uncomfortable, so I purchased a pie. I NEVER buy pies. Somewhere in my psyche I decided that I needed this pie.
The PIE had magical qualities that would make his time away be easier. How crazy is that?
This situation is defined as "emotional eating". For example, you have an emotion - like FEAR or SADNESS and decide that a donut, cookie, or ice cream is what you need to fix it.
Food doesn't solve your problems. Yes, it solves the "I'm hungry" problem - but other than that food is just food.
The pie isn't going to make me feel less afraid or sad, it is just a pie. What do I really need? To ask for help, probably. Or just allow myself to feel the emotions and let them flow without needed to shove them down with pie.
I believe the first tool in tackling emotional eating is just to become aware of it. I woke up when I opened my car door at put the pie inside. Did I go back to the store to return it? No, I just shared it with friends and gave it to my kids so I didn't eat the entire thing myself.
One really good way to figure out if you are eating emotionally is to food journal with EMOTIONS. For example when I ate my toast this morning, I was feeling hungry and stressed. I probably didn't even taste it (and yes, I was standing up when I ate it).
After you get a handle on when emotional eating occurs in your day, you can start substituting other things for food. For example, deep breaths, a hug from someone nearby, or chewing on some gum.
Check out the book below for more ideas (I have this one next to my bed). How do you deal with emotional eating? Please share.
After I posted this, I have received direct e-mails from readers who are telling me how hard it is to stop emotional eating. I did not mean to say it is easy . My path to becoming aware of this habit has been a long one. I just didn't want to bore you with the details.
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The inclination to grab for food when you are stressed is completely understandable. Food calms you down and makes you feel good....