The Struggle with Eating. Emotional Eating, Stress Eating, Boredom and Mindless Snacking
So anyone who reads my blogs knows I practice more of a “flexible diet” style. I don’t limit myself to certain foods, I track my macros and I don’t believe in “starving” which eventually leads to binge eating.However, none of us are perfect and at times it becomes difficult to eat clean or even flexible diet! Although the entire point of flexible dieting is to track your macros, hit your numbers and “eat what you want” within reason. Hitting those numbers and not going over is a challenge, especially around the Holiday Season! I have been a competitor for several years now and an athlete my entire life but that doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with eating. I have recently been reading studies about stress eating, eating when you are bored and eating just to eat! When I am at work (I work evening shift) when 10pm rolls around and I am charting at the computer the chocolate chip cookies that sit there look pretttty good. Now, there is NOTHING wrong with eating 1 or 2 of those cookies. But what happens when people mindlessly eat, they eat 5-6 cookies without a second thought. This is where binge eating comes into play. People don’t think about what they are eating or they justify what they eat with excuses.The famous line I have heard and used sounds something like, “Well I already had 3, whats a few more”. There are things you can do (some maybe silly) that can help you or someone you no with mindless eating, stress eating & emotional eating or eating due to boredom. Lets talk about emotional eating first (I am including stress in this category): There are several different emotions one may feel in a day. Some negative emotions that may lead to overeating can be stress, loneliness,depressed or sadness and anxiousness. When you are sad, depressed, stressed or lonely it seems only right to head to the freezer pull out your good friends Ben & Jerry and sit in front of the T.V while you eat non stop. Some tips to avoid this happening would include: -calling someone you are close with (or texting) Having someone to talk to for a few minutes may make you feel more positive and also may decrease the craving for a pint of ice cream. -if you are feeling anxious instead of reaching for the chips and dip, crank up the Itunes and do a little dance. Although you may look silly, you will be releasing that energy into a more positive way then just snacking. -when you are tired after a long day: treat yourself to a hot shower/bath, make a cup of yummy flavored tea and grab a book. Once you start reading you won’t even be thinking about food anymore. Boredom. Sounds silly that around this time of year that someone may feel bored. I wish I had a few minutes to experience boredom right now! But, it does happen and here are some tips to prevent the pretzel and nutella overload (my favorite): There are MANY things you can do if you are bored that does not involve constant snacking. -go to the gym! -do a home work out -play a board game -go on Pinterest! Always a good idea -pull out a coloring book,. crayons or just doodle -call a friend -go shopping -crafting -play/listen to music -read a book -read all my blogs (always a good idea too) The point to the list above is there are ALWAYS things to do besides eating.Although you may look at the list above and say “I don’t do any of those things”, there is most likely activities in your life you enjoy and could do! Mindless Eating. You don’t really know why you do it and you can’t seem to stop. This is what tends to happen to me when I sit down at the table, or there is snacks at work. When you mindlessly eat, you literally are not even considering what you are eating or why you are doing it. It can be tricky to avoid this, especially if it has been a habit for a while. You are always aware of the “first move”. So before you reach for the snacks think twice about doing it. Do you think you can just have a few? Will you get lost in eating and not stop? Does this happen when you go to the movies and buy a large popcorn, or when you are sitting at the computer? Think about your action before you do it! Portion control can also come into play. If you wonder into the kitchen and reach for the crackers, don’t take the box with you. Take out a few, put them in a bowl and place the box back in the cabinet. There is no need to carry the box with you around the house… Below is a chart that shows Physical hunger Vs. Emotional hunger. This may help you the next time you say, “I am starving”. Are you actually starving, or are you bored?