Food. I like that stuff.
Now days, my food choices are vastly different than those pictured above.
I’ll freely admit that I’ve had to get it in it’s proper perspective over the last few years. Growing up food was the “thing” that you celebrated with, gathered on Sundays for, had extra helpings of, and most importantly, you always, always cleaned your plate. It didn’t really matter you weren’t hungry anymore… just ignore your bodies natural signals of being full and clean your plate.
Happy, sad, angry, depressed, bored, restless, frustrated, holidays, bad weather, stressed, whatever……. all opportunities to eat.
My grandmother and mom were great cooks, and it needs to be mentioned, bakers too. I freely admit to being a baked good snob and can often pass on store bought goodies and cake mix cakes and bagged cookies. I mean, no offense, but when you’ve had a made from scratch 3 layer German Chocolate cake, anything else is simply an imposter.
They ruined me.
I mean, not totally, ’cause I’m a pretty good baker myself and can make cakes that grown men offer marriage 😉 and my sons friends immediately sought to raid my cookie jar because ( according to them) I was the “only” mom who baked real cookies haha
So yeah, food, it was a big deal…. used on many levels in a completely improper way. I hadn’t come to the knowledge (yet) that food was to primarily be fuel for my body. Not a sporting event.
As I got older, I realized that my family definitely was a family of “emotional eaters”. My grandmother was very over weight as was my mom. Actually, if I’m being honest with you, they were considered obese. My brother struggled with his weight most of his life. I had steadily gained weight for a few years when I finally got the kick in the butt to make some changes before I might too have to deal with health issues that plagued my mom, grandmother and brother. I had watched my family use food for comfort and a distraction from boredom for years but was fortunate to have my eyes opened to that.
I often referred to it as mindless eating.
It might look like this: constant grazing while cooking, continuing to eat and pick food from bowls after the meal was long over (and large seconds had been had) eating during the clean up process, basically just consuming food without any thought of what was being done…. or an awareness you’re eating when you aren’t even hungry.
I knew I needed to make myself intentionally mindful of this process to avoid the downfall of a lifetime of emotional eating.
It wasn’t easy. I became aware of the weak part of my days/nights where I’d look for food and not be hungry or when I thought about grabbing something ’cause I might feel stressed, angry, or bored.
Over the past few years I’ll say I think I’m pretty on top of it now…. and I’m very conscious when I let myself do it.
I remember one night after a rather stressful day my husband walked into the kitchen… I had a bag of BBQ chips out on the counter (for the record… I LOVE BBQ chips… but I’m pretty sure they have crack in them) and I was standing there just munching them down… I looked at him and said….
“I want you to know that I’m fully aware I’m totally emotionally eating right now”
I was being kinda silly about it but I was serious too. I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t need to eat them.
It’s a huge step to identify things in your life that are a stumbling block to your health and fitness goals. Once you know your triggers you can make those slow steady changes to freedom.
To break free you must first:
Be real with yourself. Stop making excuses for eating what you don’t need.
Call it what it is… emotional, mindless eating. An unnecessary and unhealthy habit.
Remove yourself from temptation. And that means…get outta the kitchen.
When it was evening and I had eaten and wasn’t hungry, I just brushed my teeth. I knew I wouldn’t get anything after going through that process.
Write down times you feel most vulnerable, or things that drive you to eat when you aren’t truly hungry. Doing this for a week or two will show you patterns that you can then use as a defense strategy.
You love your family… but look at ways you may be influenced to participate in doing this just because it’s always “what you’ve known”. You can still be a part of the fam without engaging in this 😉
Finally, be kind to yourself as you move through this. Awareness is the first huge step to success. Press on and use each day to move forward to freedom =)