I don’t know about you guys, but when it comes to how I snack it all comes down to emotions. I say snack because eating three balanced meals a day is easy. I look forward to my smoothie breakfast, my salad for lunch and my hot meal for dinner. This is all good and well until I look in-between the lines, where I see the secret snacking and quick bites of food here and there. Then there is the “I AM SO STRESSED THAT I NEED THIS CHOCOLATE ANYTHING TO RELAX AT NIGHT”….Yeah so maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but maybe it’s not…?
I find that I eat when I am disappointed or proud of myself, I eat when I am bored, when I feel happy or sad and for any other occasion in between. This is not to say that all is lost and I have no way of changing the way I eat. The real situation is that I have the power to change my habits and rituals, but that it takes time effort and a willingness to do what it takes despite how scary it feels.
Eating in general is an extremely emotional experience that is often tied with memories and feeling of guilt, pleasure, pain, etc. This emotional experienced paired with a life that encourages mindless eating can wreak havoc on personal goals health wise. We don’t only have to deal with the emotional aspect, but that food is at the ready for us 24/7 and opens the opportunity to easily eat on the run or while we are preoccupied. I don’t know about you, but the opportunity to sit for half hour to enjoy a meal is a rarity and the busy lives we lead don’t exactly encourage creating homemade nutrient dense meals.
The problem we face here is the loss of connection with food as well as with our emotions, we can however work towards improvement. Here is a good starting point to become a more intuitive eater in order to stop the emotional roller coaster of eating in-between.
· Start a Journal.
Yes I understand you might have heard this before, and it is daunting thinking about tracking the food you consume, but let’s take a step back and look at this tool a little differently.
If you feel like it is too overwhelming, start out with journaling 2-4 days per week. With your journal entries don’t just focus on food, but focus mainly on how you were feeling, whether or not you were actually hungry, and in what setting you were eating in. If this is confusing here’s an example from my own personal journal.
“…Today I entered the kitchen tired and slightly dehydrated. It was an hour past when I normally ate lunch and had worked out that morning. I felt happy and confident from my accomplishments that day. Once I opened the fridge I grabbed ingredients for a salad and then proceeded to instead toast some bread and ate an egg sandwich, two slices of cheese and half of my salad. In between I snacked on random bits and pieces from the meal as well…”
This might seem like a lot of detail, but it helps you to determine the situation you put yourself in around food and how easy it was to go off track. I could have gone for lunch an hour early to prepare a well-rounded meal and focus more on taking the time to sit down and eat.
This tool helps your brain to connect the dots and realize when you are choosing to eat based on emotion or hunger.
Now Emotional eating is not something to be ashamed of or worth giving up over, it is a struggle that even though it is small, still causes harm. Instead of giving into the temptation of something familiar, work on becoming uncomfortable. Start a journal and make a plan to stop the bad habits and create new ones. The more you take the time to understand why you are turning to food the more power you have.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want food to be my safety net, rather I want it to be a tool. A tool to help me stay healthy and active with my children and family. I want to put aside my obsession with food and instead God with worshiping him rather than food and allowing Him to have the control rather than passing it over to myself. I want a life that is simple and pleasing to God, where I don’t have the overwhelming focus of food to distract me from the life He has lead me to lead.
This week I was reading in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and found it an encouragement to remember the importance of the process…
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear down, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”
Hope you all have a lovely week!