Emotional Eating – No, I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about me. Sometimes people don’t eat when they are sad or happy. I do remember a time when I was very depressed with some rough stuff going on in my life and I was so stressed I literally couldn’t keep anything down. But that is rare for me. Most of the time, I feel like eating. A lot! I eat when I’m happy. I eat when I’m sad. I eat when stressed. I eat for reward. I’m a social eater and a private eater. I love buffets. I also love all kinds of food. I grew up eating 3 meals a day that were home cooked and mostly fried. When you are working in the yard or garden or in the summers in the fields, you can “get away” with eating like that. But in our society today when we are less active with more sedentary (desk) jobs and all of our modern conveniences, it’s much more difficult to burn off all of the calories we were used to eating. I love Burgers and Fries, Chinese, Japanese, German, Mexican, Sushi, etc. etc. The only food I know of that I don’t like is pickled beets. I have favorites but will eat most anything. Bottom line though is, eating makes me happy. There is just something special about sharing a GREAT meal with friends.
Emotional Eating – How Did I Get Here?
Maybe it’s genetics. Maybe is societal. Maybe it’s my parents. Most likely it’s a combination of all three or possibly other factors I don’t even understand. I have no control over my genetics so, there is no need to even discuss it here. I just have to understand genetics may play a role in emotional eating but I have to master it.
Society causes us to want to eat. We eat at parties when we have friends over. We eat at lunches with clients. We go out to eat with friends after church. When we think “good times with friends”, most of the time, food comes immediately to mind. What are we going to serve at the Baby Shower. Our guests at the wedding have to be fed. We even make sure we have food for families that have a death in the family. When someone is sick or hurting, the first thing that comes to mind most of the time for us is “I wonder if we should take them a meal”. My Mom would build bake biscuits to take to people. Family gatherings always centered around food. Even today, we have family reunions where people bring food. We look forward to the food probably more than seeing our relatives. Everyone brings their favorite dish. At Easter, we go to our cousin’s house and everyone does that. We even say things like…I hope so and so brings her potato salad or banana pudding or chocolate cake or whatever. Most people with large families, especially in the South, can totally relate to what I’m talking about here.
My parents were born during the depression in the 30’s. They rarely had enough to eat or had to work like crazy to get it. Food is much more abundant now and even though we weren’t rich when I was younger, we had enough money to buy enough food to eat. We also worked hard in the garden to grow food. My Mom was a GREAT cook. There was always food to eat. If I wanted something special, even as an adult when I was visiting, all I had to do was mention it and Mom would get going preparing it for me. She wanted to please us with food because it was the one thing she could do to “make us happy” because, as I said, we were lower middle class at BEST. My Dad was disabled and my Mom was a school nurse and we lived in a small town (less than 500 people). My graduating class had less than 70. You can do the math on that one. So, food was one of the things we really had to look forward to as a family. We always ate at the table together so it was a centerpiece of our lives. Happy times meant food. And yes, I do like to reward myself with food and no, I’m not a dog.
Want to know more about Emotional Eating? This is a great test for you from Psychology Today. Pretty interesting stuff. Just click: EMOTIONAL EATING
Emotional Eating – How to Break the Habit
I’m still learning. I wish I had all the answers. I am still an emotional eater and I always will be. I can’t imagine going to something like a Super Bowl Party and not having food. It’s ALWAYS going to be around. The question is, is it worth it? The answer is, yes. There will always be times when we can splurge. Some people call it cheat days. I call it living. We aren’t robots. But, if we eat clean 90% of the time or better, it’s “OK” to enjoy good foods with good friends. Tony Horton even said he is a chocoholic. He does enjoy chocolate now and then and if the portions are VERY small, you possibly even enjoy a bit every day, but not a snickers bar.
For emotional eating, it all comes down to eating for fuel and not fun. Portion control is key and learning to control cravings is crucial. Portion control is something Beachbody never really pushed because it isn’t easy to teach. 21 Day Fix solved that with containers to put food in. Cravings can also be controlled to a large degree with Shakeology.
It all comes down to a mind set. Are you going to let your emotional eating habits dictate your waistline, or are you going to master it and get more out of life by eating for fuel and not fun. I’m still on the journey myself. Come join me and let’s do it together!!