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Currently Browsing: emotional eating

let’s talk about food

Thanks so much for all the sweet well wishes for the husband’s first day on the new job. Ya’ll are so sweet.  I texted him mid-day to see how it was going and he texted back “it’s going really well.  A great company to work for…and so much to learn!”  Today and tomorrow are basically just orientation days, and then Wednesday will be his first day in the office.  That is, unless the predicted 6-10 inches of snow keeps him home (fingers crossed:).  Anyway, I’ve always been so thankful that he has a job he loves, and I feel that way even more now.  Every time I ask him about how he’s feeling regarding the change, he just starts talking about how great he feels about this company and the difference they’re making in people’s lives.  Yay.

Now let’s just see if I can get a job as well!

I started off yesterday morning with a serious craving for yogurt and raw oatmeal.

1/3 cup raw oats, whole soy yogurt, chia seeds, dried cranberries and cinnamon

Totally hit the spot.  Sometimes I feel myself getting tired of foods that I’ve been eating a lot of, and all it takes is scrolling back through my blog a little bit to find inspiration.  I can almost always find a basic meal that I haven’t had in awhile to bring back all fresh and new!  This oldie was definitely a highlight to start the day.

Other highlights for the day included but were not limited to the following:

  • painting my nails mint green

  • spending a little extra time with God this morning

  • making my green smoothie with a scoop of natural peanut butter and chocolate almond milk for lunch

  • having a really great conversation with my mom on the phone this afternoon

  • eating yet another leftover cinnamon roll for a snack this afternoon (I know).  One a day does = moderation.  It does!

I have had two tasty meals in my head all day today, but I’ve been on kind of a weird schedule (hence the green smoothie for lunch), so I haven’t been able to make either one of them.  One is the veggie chili I made for the husband’s work party a couple of months ago, and the other is a really simple lunch idea that I just can’t get out of my mind.  I’m thinking I’ll be enjoying it for lunch today, and if so then I’ll share it later on!  As far as the chili goes, I think it’ll be the perfect meal for Wednesday when we’re all snowed in again.  mmmm.

The last part of this post has been pretty much all about food, ha!  Food is where it’s at, though.  Even Mr. Squirrel agrees.

He sits right outside our kitchen window almost every morning, munching on all kinds of nuts and seeds.  Gives me a hankering for nuts and seeds myself, just watching him.

But really food is such a big part of life, you know?  We need it for fuel and nourishment…but it also affects us in psychological ways. We celebrate with it.  We comfort with it during times of loss.  We have memories attached to it.

I’m not encouraging emotional eating in the sense of eating to hide or cover up emotions, but we’d be crazy to say that food isn’t tied to something besides a physical need.

I’ve never really talked about this on the blog before, but in the past I’ve had issues with emotional eating, and it wasn’t in a positive way.  Sometimes, whether I’d be feeling stressed, sad or just plain tired, I would go straight to the pantry and just eat mindlessly.  And then when I would finish, I’d feel guilty and even more stressed, not to mention physically kind of sick.  I remember at times feeling like I’d never be able to break the cycle.  I ate healthy enough all the rest of the time and exercised enough that I never really put on any visible weight, but the emotional weight it was adding on was not a good thing.  It was a bad habit…and I needed to break it.

It has been a long time since this last happened.  I still get carried away with the chips and salsa occasionally (okay, often;), but it’s not the same kind of destructive behavior.  It’s no longer me trying to cover up an emotion…it’s more just about liking blue corn tortilla chips a little too much. ha.  I think the point that I really was able to gain control of what I was doing was when I recognized the true issue behind the behavior.  After a lot of prayer and internal processing, I realized that I was eating at these times in an effort to relieve the negative emotions I was feeling inside.  Food was a way to cover those emotions up by doing something that felt good right at that moment.

Besides identifying the root of the problem, another thing that helped a LOT was realizing that just because I disappointed myself by doing this didn’t mean that I should punish myself afterwards.  When I treated my body that way I needed to do something really nice for my body in turn…rather than beating myself up about it.  So, I started going for a long, slow walk,  taking a bubble bath, or just cuddling with Olive for a bit.   I also spent some time identifying the specific reasons why I would eat, and then made an alternative plan for each negative emotion, such as laying down for a twenty minute nap, getting into downward dog and holding it for 20-30 seconds or spending some time in prayer. Basically, I was ready to tackle the problem itself, whatever problem it was, rather than trying to put a band-aide over it.

After so many weeks of implementing my new plan, it became a habit, and now I don’t even think about it.  I’m not saying it was an easy process, and I definitely had my fair share of set-backs, but in the end it was so worth it.  Every time I would fall back into the behavior, I would take time to really process through what I had really been feeling in the moment, work through that emotion (if it was anxiety over my job, I would take 30 minutes and problem solve or call my teacher friend and ask for advice).  And through the whole process, not only have I gained confidence in my ability to eat in a healthy way, but I’ve also become more confident in handling conflict and anxiety.

I don’t know if I’m the only one that has ever dealt with us, but somehow I doubt it.  Just the other day I was talking to the husband, and it suddenly hit me that I hadn’t eaten in this way in a long long time.  I realized that I’d totally forgotten what it was like and is totally out of character for me to do something like now.  I know there’s a possibility that I could fall back into the habit someday, but it feels good to know that making slow progress toward a healthier way of dealing with negative emotions has brought me to a place where I feel much more confident in my relationship with food. Isn’t that how it should be?

Anyway, these are just some thoughts I’d been pondering lately, and I thought I’d share them.  I used to think this issue was something I was ashamed of and wanted to hide.  I’m still not proud that I struggled with it, but I realize now that we all have battles such as this and the best way to overcome those struggles is to bring them out into the light.

What is something you’ve overcome through a lot of time and hard work?  How does it feel to be in a place where you feel confident and at peace in regard to that issue?  Or are you still working through something and trying to get to that place?

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emotional eating…or no?

There is a lot going on this week at CSM “headquarters.”  I am entering my most busy time at work.  There is a lot of testing coming up that I need to make sure my kids are prepared for, and a lot of it is essay testing which means I’ll probably have a red pen in hand for much of the next month and a half.

Anyhow, while avoiding lesson planning tonight, I stumbled onto this article in which Courtney Pool talks about emotional eating being tied to what is being eaten.

She states “Fueling our bodies with processed food and animal products only makes for harder work in healing emotional eating. Our bodies as well as our brains get physically addicted to processed sugar, flour, salt and grains, cooked, low quality oils, chemical food additives and colorings, and even naturally occurring substances such as casein in dairy products. We then have to deal with not only our emotional addiction to food, but also our physical addiction.

She goes on to say “When we get to a place where the foods we reach for emotionally are rarely or never processed ones, then we can clearly arrive at the truth of our emotional attachment to food. Perhaps now you still eat emotionally, but you reach for raw, organic nuts or dates, or maybe raw vegan desserts. Emotionally, enough of most any food will satisfy what we’re using it for, so even a great deal of blueberries or a pile of seaweed can do the trick. However, we can often conclude that we are not likely reaching for a pile of blueberries or even a bag of nuts because we are physically addicted. Now that the physical addiction is gone, we can face the issue appropriately, and begin to explore why we eat when we are not hungry.”

With all of the stress that is going on at my job lately, I’ve been having an even harder time with emotional eating.   I often find that as my stress/anxiety  levels begin to rise, my automatic response is to reach for food.  But, not just any food…food that is not clean.  Food that is laden with sugar/salt or is high in carbs.

A little experiment that I conducted recently showed that if the only food available to me during these times is healthy, clean food such as fruit or vegetables, then I literally won’t eat it.  It apparently doesn’t ease the anxiety in my mind and therefore has no appeal whatsoever.  I will, instead, find myself continuing on with the tasks at hand and dealing with the anxiety in the rawest way possible.  Meaning – I sort through the emotions (why am I feeling this way?), combat lies with truth and make a gameplan to deal with whatever is stressing me out.  However, if unhealthy foods are in the least bit accessible, I have a hard time thinking rationally enough to avoid them.

So, I found the above article quite interesting in that I agree with the point that part of the catalyst for emotional eating has to do with a physical addiction.  Yet, I am having trouble reconciling with the idea that we can turn to emotionally eating on healthy/clean foods as a stepping stone to defeating those emotional eating demons for good. That just doesn’t work for me.

Also, I am still exploring the following question: if clean foods don’t suffice in easing my anxiety, what is the root of my problem?  Is it an purely addiction to certain elements (casein, sugar, oil etc) of unclean foods and I just happen to reach for them when I’m feeling overwhelmed/stressed?  Can my  “episodes” even be classified as emotional eating?

When you find yourself reaching for food because of a mental/emotional issue, does clean food do the trick?  Or do you feel you have to go for sugary foods, etc.  What do you think of this idea that forcing ourselves to eat clean food when eating for emotional reasons is a huge step in beating emotional eating altogether?  Also, how might we get to a place where we reach for healthy food when feeling the need to “feed” our emotions?  Do you feel this is possible?

And, finally, because no post is complete without a picture and by request from a couple of CSM readers, here is more beautiful, albeit random, Thailand scenery.

This little bungalow served as Jon and I’s sleeping quarters for a week.

Close up:)

View out the tiny little window.

Our little “guest” that we came home to one night.

G’Night!

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a birthday week

picking myself up and dusting myself off…

So, basically a lot of life happened this week, which detered me from regularly posting or updating on the challenge. I knew this was going to be a crazy busy week, but I didn’t realize just how crazy.  Jonathan has been working on a project at work for about a year now.  The university he works for (and our alma mater) has launching the largest fundraising campaign ever in the history of the school.  He is the assistant director of marketing, so his role has been huge throughout the entire process.  Anyway, the campaign went public for the first time on Friday at a big event on campus.  Then, on Saturday, at halftime of the basketball game, there was another big announcement about it, and we spent the day passing out t shirts to students.  So basically, every night this week was filled with working and getting ready for the big day.  Plus, Friday was Jon’s birthday, so any free time I had this week was spent shopping, wrapping and baking.  It’s been a whirlwind.

It’s also been the longest I’ve ever gone without posting.  I missed it so much!  I feel like the spring was missing from my step all week.  I have to be honest and say that between work madness and birthday festivities, some not so good food choices resulted as well. I did do some good things too though.  For instance, I exfoliated my face every three days, drank more water this week and didn’t eat one spoonful of Kashi cereal (yay!).  I have to admit that the other parts of the challenge were hit or miss.  I actually wasn’t as committed this week as I was before I started the challenge.  Boo.  I participated in what some would call “emotional eating,” which I’m not proud of.  It’s something that I struggle with often, but the emotional eating monster struck extra hard this week.  Stress, stress, stress.

BUT, one part of the challenge that I am really being tested on right now is not beating myself up when I don’t do so hot.  I’ve actually had a lot of practice with that one lately.  And truly, I think it is one of the most important skills to practice.  Loving my husband and being there for him in every way possible, and still staying on top of my own job took precedence over blogging and sticking 100% to my challenge this week.  And I’m okay with that.  In fact, that’s the way it should be.

So, it’s a new week, and I’m still shooting for the same goals.  Life and all of the routines that come with it should be back to normal starting tomorrow.  I feel a bit silly that I’ve lost an entire week of only a three week challenge, but there is nothing I can do about that now.  That is, nothing aside from jumping right back in and doing the best I can this week.

Off I go to do some more prep for school tomorrow.  Because the first part of the weekend was so busy, I spent most of today working on grading research papers and planning for this week.  And I’m still not done.  I did manage to squeeze in time to make a soup for lunches this week, which I’ll post later, as well as one episode of Amazing Race.  Love that show!

I hope everyone has a great start to the week.  Thanks to those of you who’ve stuck around through my hiatus.  It’s good to be back:)

I’ll leave you with a few pics from the last few days.

Friday’s eats – cashew cookie Lara, banana (to be wrapped inside almond butter filled wrap) and spaghetti squash concoction which included spaghetti squash, brussels, corn, green beans, chick peas, sliced almonds and humnut sauce.

Gotta love the hubs.  This is his breakfast specialty (except for green monsters of course:).  It’s all about presentation of course.  Ezekiel cinnamon raisin english muffin with cashew butter and sliced banana.  And two almonds to top it off.

Happy birthday to my hero, my best friend, my love.

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