Write down your worst eating habit. Then, write the advice you would give someone who came to you with the same habit.
Emotional eating. When I’m stressed, tired, worried, or frazzled, I often reach to food to help calm me. The enjoyment of eating helps place my concerns on the back burner for just a few moments while I try to regain a sense of calm.
Normally, it’s a habit that comes up about every other week. These days, there’s been a lot going on. As such, I’ve been eating well past the point of fullness much more frequently than I’d like. It’s not something that makes me feel good, particularly the element of feeling like I’m not the one in control of my actions.
If someone came to me with the same problem, same mindset, wanting advice, I’d first explain that it’s a common problem. I mentioned previously that serotonin is involved in the digestive problem, so eating food, quite literally, feels good for so many reasons. But if you feel “out of control” with your relationship with food, then something needs to be done so you feel the agency that you need to feel healthy.
It’s also worthwhile to try a few exercises to notice patterns that may not be immediately visible, as well as solutions:
- Rather than trying to change anything immediately, right down the situations and how you’re feeling (before and after) to better understand when and why this happens.
- Explore other ways of achieving the same result: walking the dog. Meditating. Make time for a mental break so you can nap/read/watch TV for 15 minutes.
- For each “junk” food you eat, add in one nutrient-dense food so you’re getting good micronutrients to counteract that sugar rush-feeling afterwards.
- Give yourself an environment of success – prioritize and learn what you need for self-care to build a more solid foundation that can buffer feelings of stress, anxiety, and worry.
Ultimately, don’t beat yourself up. Depending on what’s going on right now, you may need additional support. If it’s coming from food right now – and you don’t want it to be – consistently change it, little by little, so you can shift that support elsewhere. Over time, you’ll start to develop new habits, but it’s a matter of sticking with it and trusting yourself.
Black Iron Nutrition is offering a 30 Day Mindful Eating Challenge that includes journal prompts and tasks to help bring more mindfulness to our relationships with food. And I’m in! This post is in response to today’s prompt to keep myself accountable and get the most out of my participation. If you’re interested in joining the free challenge, sign up at Black Iron Nutrition’s website here.