I am NOT an emotional eater…am I? (newsletter #3)

For years whenever I heard the term “emotional eater” I imagined a person sitting on the floor in front of the fridge late at night when no one else was around gorging on all the “bad” foods, crying and feeling distraught.  I definitely knew I was NOT an emotional eater.

And then a funny thing happened a few weeks ago that started to make me reconsider how I defined “emotional eating” and whether I should include myself in this camp.  I was having a bad day at work and all I could think about was the pizza I was going to have for dinner. It made me feel better to know at the end of this bad day I would have my all-time favorite food.  I was participating in a sugar cleanse at the time and when I posted about my bad day and the pizza I was going to have for dinner, the facilitator termed it “emotional eating.”  Hmmm, I thought and kept moving.

The other day I was having another bad morning and without thinking, rushed off to my favorite coffee shop for an egg sandwich on an in-house baked croissant with cheese, bacon and avocado – YUM right? An hour after I ate it, the light bulb went off in my head and I thought to myself “OMG, I AM an emotional eater!!”  That egg sandwich with all the goodness on it made me feel better, it comforted me in some emotional way.

So my friend, are you a closet or unknowing emotional eater like me?  And if so, what do we do about it?

My simple answer to you and for myself is this – AWARENESS is half the battle!  Now that I – and you – are aware of our habit to seek out comforting foods in times of stress, frustration, sadness, whatever, we can better control our reactions to them.  PREPARATION is the other half of the battle; had my chia pudding been prepared, it’s unlikely I would’ve gotten dressed to go outside and get the egg sandwich.

When you notice the tendency to eat or have cocktails because you’re in a bad mood or stressed out, stop and ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I trying to accomplish by eating or drinking this?
  • Will eating or drinking this serve me and/or my health goals?
  • Is there something else that WILL serve my health better that I can substitute instead?

Emotional eating is part of the human condition as we all seek comfort in times of stress, sadness or exhaustion.  I am simply learning – and encouraging you to learn – to find a healthier way to “emotionally eat.”  Perhaps next time I’ll reach for my favorite granny smith apple and peanut butter instead of ordering a pizza or grabbing an egg sandwich.  It’s the little steps that add up to big wins!

Until the next time my friend, remain strong and diligent!
Chinyere

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