Do you find that you have been struggling to make healthy choices, especially over the last few months? Have you found yourself reaching for fast food or in the middle of your pantry shoving food in your face, even when you were not hungry? I bet your answer is YES!!! Well, you are not alone, many people reach for food to comfort and pacify themselves. So many people struggle with emotional eating, using food to avoid dealing with underlying issues in their lives.
You know the scenario…you had a long day at work dealing with a demanding client and your boss just gave you an impossible deadline for a project. You are overwhelmed and stressed. Those Chic-fil-A nuggets and waffle fries are calling your name. While you are in line, you decide to grab an ice cream cone too. If you are going to cheat, you might as well make it count. Sound familiar?
I understand your struggles and frustration! I have battled with emotional and binge eating, since I was 15 years old. Most of the time I have it under control, however the last year it has been more difficulty to control, especially now that I am working from home. Don’t get me wrong, my pantry and fridge are filled with healthy foods for meals and snacks, nonetheless I find myself in my pantry with my hand in the almond flour crackers often.
The idea for this blog started on a Monday evening after engulfing the fourth snack in less than 10 minutes. The day started off great, nothing unusual. An early workout, a morning full of clients that I love and an afternoon with my granddaughter, one of my favorite people in the world. After she went home for the day, I decided that I had to make this phenomenal paleo bread with the berries that I had in the refrigerator. As I went into the pantry to retrieve ingredients, I spotted some plantain chips, which I promptly opened and shoved a handful into my mouth, then returned to the kitchen to make the bread. As I added ingredients, I realized that I had forgotten the orange extract and entered the pantry again.
This time the organic kale crackers caught my eye and began calling my name. I opened the box, grabbed a handful and ate them, then reached for more. Next up was the cashews. As I started munching on the cashews, I stopped for a moment, looked around and wondered what in the world was I doing. Here I was again, shoving food in my mouth! UGH!! I stepped back, put the cashew bag down and realized that I was at it again…binge eating. There is no denying it, I do this because I feel overwhelmed and go back to old habits of using food to feed my emotions.
I have come so far and am happier and healthier in my mid 40’s than I have ever been. I have so many aspects of my life going right and an abundance of reasons to be thankful, yet I find myself putting pressure and stress on myself to accomplish more…learn more, create programs, help more people, redesign my website, improve social media presence, keep the house clean, make a healthy dinner every night…you get the picture. The fact of the matter is that I create my own pressure and stress.
I finally decided that enough is enough. I am stronger than succumbing to stress eating. I needed time to reflect and get back to my “stress is not going to get me” mentality. After all, this is what I teach others to do for themselves. It was time to get back to reflecting on the good, not letting things out of my control bother me, get the best of me and cause emotional eating.
If you find yourself stress eating…
Binging in your pantry or any other place for that matter, know that you are not alone. Here are a few tips to help get you back on track:
1. Take time for yourself
I know that this seems easier said than done. Remember that you are important. People are counting on you to be your best which requires time to decompress. Hang out with friends, plan date nights with significant others, plan outings with your kids.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Take time to breath and reflect before blowing a gasket over dirty dishes in the sink or laundry on the floor. Getting upset and stress eating is not going to make you feel any better!
3. Get a good night’s sleep
Falling asleep and staying asleep is imperative for the rejuvenation and repair of the immune system and the organs involved with detoxification. Waking up rested sets you up for the day and helps you manage stress and avoid stress eating due to fatigue.
Set yourself up for a good night’s sleep:
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid food 2-3 hours before bedtime
- Keep a regular sleep schedule
- Control light exposure: Avoid keeping cell phone, computers and other electronic devices in the bedroom
- Exercise regularly
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress
- Spend a few minutes with deep breathing or meditation prior to getting into your bed.
- Journal-Write three positive thoughts about your day.
Exercise releases the feel-good neurotransmitter, dopamine. Dopamine gives us that “high” that make a difficult workout worth every sweaty second. Go ahead, try it and see how you feel. Push yourself through discomfort and reap the benefits to help stop stress eating.
5. Eat a nutrient dense diet
Full of colorful vegetables and fruits full of phytonutrients, responsibly raised animal proteins, healthy oils, nuts & seeds, legumes, herbs and spices.
I hope you find these tips helpful to end your stress eating.
If you feel you need more guidance and coaching to help identify stress eating triggers, manage stress, sleep better or work through life challenges, I would love to work with you one on one.