Since gaining insight into my behaviors, I have learned that one of the main reasons for my weight gain over the years is due to emotional eating. I eat when I am feeling down, anxious, bored, and worried. I have also noticed that I eat more and crave non-healthy food when it is cold and rainy outside. Relying on food to help cope with life’s challenges is dangerous. Although I feel momentary relief as I taste the warm bread or the rich chocolate, after I’m done, I’m left feeling just as I did before, only with added disgust for having overindulged, and sometimes a stomach ache to boot.
By increasing my awareness of how my feelings impact my behaviors, I am able to make better choices in those critical moments. Today, I am feeling especially anxious about a very important meeting taking place tomorrow. To make matters worse, it is also cold and rainy outside, the scale was up ½ a pound from yesterday, I have not run in three days due to a pain in my knee (non-running related), and I did not have time to prepare a nice hot lunch. With all of these triggers to lead me to emotional eating, I decided I’d better take control and make some smart decisions, before things got out of hand.
Early in the morning, my co-worker offered to pick up some bagels, but I declined because at the time they didn’t have any cinnamon raison bagels, just plain. I wasn’t going to eat just anything because it was put in front of me. However, I got a nice surprise when he returned with a fresh cinnamon raison bagel; I ate it and it was delicious.
I ate my lunch early, and had a long afternoon ahead of me. Since I wasn’t going to be home until late, I decided to head out of the office for a nice hot meal. There is a place down the street which offers a main dish, unlimited sides, soup and a salad, bread and soda for about $10. Instead of eating all of the food that comes with deal, I ate a sensible portion of fried chicken breast with brown rice and mashed potatoes. I stayed away from the soup, salad, bread and soda.
Afterward, I went to the bakery hoping that they would have this delicious chocolate filled pastry. Instead, they had chocolate covered pretzel shaped cookies for about $0.25 each. Again, I ate a reasonable portion of three cookies instead of seven or eight, which I have eaten in the past.
Today marks 70 amazing days of Running Without a Watch, during which I have learned that there are much better ways of coping than indulging in unhealthy food. So today, as I knew that my desire to eat was driven by emotion rather than hunger, I chose to make smarter decisions and I actually enjoyed my food!
Have you ever coped with food? What foods are you drawn to at difficult times?