Updated: Jan 18
My cat died this week. It might have been the straw that broke the camel's back in a unrelenting year that seems to dish up blow after blow. And I caved into wine, sugar, and carbs.
I am not perfect. I have never claimed to be. But I do have the tools to bring myself back on track more than I did 3 years ago. What was an evening of sadness and a few bad choices, is a vast improvement from my spirals I used to set out on when life threw me some big ol' lemons. I woke up the following day, ate a healthy breakfast and got a 3 mile run in.
According to the APA, thirty-eight percent of adults say they have overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods in the past month because of stress. Half of these adults (49 percent) report engaging in these behaviors weekly or more. Emotional eating is a prevalent problem in our society today and with the constant ads of cheap and junk food marketed to us, its an easy way for us to cope with all that is going on lately.
Add the holidays to it, and it almost doubles. Seriously, think about it. How many times have you been tempted or caved into temptation of food or alcohol because of stress in the last week? The habit sends most spiraling into shame, guilt which leads to lack of motivation to actually do something about it, and then the cycle continues.
So how do we change it?
Well, the first thing you do is acknowledge that you are in fact an emotional eater. The definition of emotional eating is propensity to eat in response to positive and negative emotions. Kinda reminds me of someone:
In my eyes, this guy for me is the spokes person of emotional eating. He ate all the time, happy or sad. And we know that is never served him well. But back to the actual business of it all....
If you are an emotional eater, than you know that leaning into food can bring you comfort like no other. Maybe it stems from when you were a kid and your family celebrated with food in good and tough times. Food is such a community and cultural connector that it makes sense that we tie so much of our happiness into it.
Another way we can bring more awareness to the issue is to uncover our triggers. We all have them. For me, its been helpful to make a list of triggering events or thoughts that lead me to emotionally eat. Once I see that list, it takes away some of the power of those events because I think, "oh I can do this instead" or "that would probably not happen if..." and so on.
The last thing I do is keep the "go to" food that I can't be trusted with.... FAR AWAY! I am serious. Use your will power and don't buy the junk if you can't be trusted with it. Throw the candy away, the chips, whatever makes tempted. And before you tell me that your kids eat it or spouse or whatever, I can tell you that if you know you shouldn't be eating it, they probably shouldn't be either. It doesn't always happen 100% of the time, but it will help you to cut down on the weekly purchases of crap.
I hope that this helps. Emotional eating is something that people who struggle with will always have to be aware of. Bottom line: Getting to the root issue will address it a lot faster than continually repeating the steps above. Once I addressed the stressors of my life, it became easier for me to find alternative approaches and make them a consistent habit.
If you are ready to make a change and address the root issues of what has been getting in the way of your health and wellness journey, I am here to help you! Please schedule a Complimentary Health Consult to get an understanding of some areas, and how my coaching program could help you!
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