It is interesting, because slowly. Very. Slowly. My eating habits are starting to change. I still have plenty of emotional attachment to those comfort foods: Meat, potatoes, gravy, breads, pastas... you know, the stuff you grew up eating? I don't believe that those types of meals are bad. What is bad is my emotional attachment to them. I have noticed something quite interesting in the last month. THE. ONLY. TIME. That I have craved sugar carbs and other not as healthy "comfort" foods is when I am dealing with some kind of emotional surge.
I remember one day in particular. I think there was a lot of emotion floating through the house, because Bunny, Bug, and Little Cowboy were all acting out. The girls were fighting/arguing with me, and Little Cowboy was crying virtually non-stop. I was overwhelmed. My children are with me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our house is very tiny. There is no where to really go to be separated from anyone. So what did I learn about myself? I learned that emotion is a trigger. I have used it in the past to start munching. Crackers on the table? *munch* Cheese in the fridge? *monch* More crackers? Chips? Cookies (We rarely have cookies in the house anymore)? *nom nom* The urge to stuff my face when I am stressed is so strong, that I almost always lose to myself! Now that is just stress. I haven't even tipped the ice burg for this emotional eating mamma. Anxiety. Depression. Anger. Sadness. However, never do I get the emotional munchies when I am happy or excited. Interesting right?
So, here is your food for thought...an exercise you can do to start recognizing your own "emotional munchie" cycle. When you are craving food. Stop. Walk out of the kitchen and sit down at your desk or table. On a piece of paper, write the following.....
"I am hungry because......."
Now analyze what emotions you are feeling in that moment of when you were ready to put something that you didn't NEED in your mouth.
In my case, back last week... I felt ANGRY.
"I am hungry because I am angry."
Then write and answer:
"How can I feed my hunger without actually eating?"
"Do I need a drink of water?"
"Do I need some sun?"
"Do I need a nap/rest?"
"Do I need to take the kids to another location for extended stimulation?"
"Do I need exercise?"
Then finally ask yourself:
"Do I NEED that piece of cake/cookie/cracker/candy?
I hope that this goes without saying, but if you are really genuinely hungry, please eat a balanced meal that will leave you satisfied until you need to eat again! Every meal is important.
I have gotten to the point that I have been experiencing a negative emotion and I was ready to throw out my whole diet and exercise plan! I was willing, in that moment to give it up for some beans and rice, that I knew would make me sick....and on the toilet all night long! I was feeling so down on myself that I was willing to give it up.
What did I do?
The outcome? My eating released some endorphins, and I felt better for about 5-10 minutes or so, then I felt horrible about myself for giving in. I guess it could have been worse. It could have been cake or something like that. But my "down on Evelyn" moment came right back.
I mentioned here that I was not getting enough calories, and now reflecting back to this day, that could have very well played a part in the whole cycle of emotional eating. Most times I can stop myself from eating stuff that is not on my diet...but maybe not so much when my body is worried I am not feeding it.
There have been other times when I was having a hard day and craving everything that I was fixing for the kids. Sandwiches, crackers (those are staples in our house). Anyway, I was making lunch for Little Cowboy, and I was thinking about fixing myself a peanut butter and honey sandwich. It sounded so good, however, instead of giving in to something that would later make me sick, I took a drink of water, clenched my teeth and made some juice. I was proud of myself that day. I did it. I felt better about myself and my negative emotional day turned right around.
Our choices are powerful!
Do you have any tricks that you use to gain control over your emotional eating?