Are you an emotional eater? Happy, sad, bored, lonely, stressed, angry or indifferent? As humans, we’re a ball full of emotions. Oftentimes, we choose food to embrace, combat or fill the voids in our lives in what I call a triple threat to our health…celebration, confrontation, and consolation.
Birthdays, promotions, death, arguments, work and family related issues, or just because are some of the many reasons people gather together or isolate themselves around food.
I’m not saying those instances aren’t valid or that you shouldn’t eat during these events. It’s that we allow ourselves to overindulge in these comfort foods thinking it’s going to make the situation better or reward ourselves because we think we deserve it. Either way, it can negatively impact our health if do not get our emotions and eating under control.
I once was an emotional eater. When life’s uncanny circumstances would rear it’s ugly head, I would mindlessly eat my way into obvivion until I couldn’t feel the hurt or pain anymore or the situation finally resolved itself. I didn’t have the answers for life’s issues at the time, but looking back upon it, it definitely wasn’t in the pantry, refrigerator or drive thru. After all was said and done, the problem still existed after I consumed that 3,000+ calorie meal and another problem was created….more pounds to lose which meant more guilt and more eating my way through tears, frustration, and no end in sight. That’s what insanity is. Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
You can’t eat your way out of a problem thinking it’s going to go away just like you can’t pray away the pounds and you’re constantly picking up the fork and not getting active. You have to face your problems, take a good look at self, get to the root of it, put forth an action plan, and hope for the best outcome.
Wanting to eat healthy and becoming active is a battlefield of the mind. We are what we think and eat. Mirrors and overweight bodies never lie and spanx can only hide so much.
Adopting a healthier lifestyle requires a total change in mindset, changing your relationship with food and knowing your triggers. Food shouldn’t be viewed as a source of comfort and reward, but of sustentance to help keep you alive. Eat to live and not live to eat.
Don’t buy the comfort foods and snacks that you know you will turn to at home or in the office when those feelings hit. Usually after 20 minutes or more, the feeling will pass. Out of sight out of mind. That’s why it’s so important to have healthier snacks and food around during those times, but even then we still can overindulge in the good things as well. It takes a lot of discipline and self control during troubled times and celebratory occasions because we’re rarely paying attention to what and how much we are putting in our mouths.
Check out the many activities and attractions in your city that doesn’t involve food in which you can participate alone or with others when it calls for celebrations, times of consolation, or facing confrontations.
Here are a few of my thoughts and suggestions I recommend when encountering one of the triple threats to your health.
In times of consolation, hurt or confusion:
•walks in the park, neighborhood, or other forms of exercise
•meeting up and talking with a good friend or family member
•writing in a journal
•seek medical advice
In times of celebrations and times of reward:
•donate to your favorite charity in your name
•perform volunteer work
•visit an art gallery, indoor/outdoor concert, or create your own art
•do a physical or outdoor activity such as paintball, laser tag or flag football
•go to an amusement park
•attend or participate in a sporting event
In times of confrontation and life’s issues:
•assess the situation from all sides
•take a look at self
•be the bigger person and apologize
•put forth an action plan and see it through
•think before you speak
•walk away for a time then come back to it with a fresh perspective
•don’t address the problem without offering a solution
Hopefully, these thoughts and suggestions will help you combat your emotions in fun ways and think about solving your problems other than with food. There will be times where food is to be expected and a part of the norm, but that doesn’t mean you have to overindulge in it or give way to it. Life will have its’ share of battles in which sometimes you will win and in other times you will lose. What matters the most is winning the overall war. In this case the war on food.
Live and Be Well!