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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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fear and risks

First things first – don’t forget to enter my chia seed giveaway if you haven’t already!  Deadline is tonight at midnight!

Hey guys!  Happy April Fool’s Day!  I’ve only had one trick played on me today.  A couple of my super thoughtful and wonderful sophomores (insert eye roll) hid their cell phone up in the ceiling tiles of my classroom and then proceeded to call it incessantly during the next period.  Imagine the Lion King ring tone going off every 2 minutes throughout an entire class period.  Wonderful.

I’ve been very contemplative for the last couple of days. These pictures exhibit exactly how I’m feeling.

Picture taken on one of our outings to the villages during our year in Thailand

Picture taken on a boat in Halong Bay, Vietnam

Right now I’m in the midst of making a pretty big decision.  I don’t want to disclose any details yet, but I can’t help but write about it because it’s been on my mind constantly.

I have so many different thoughts swirling around in my mind.  One of them has to do with passion.  I am a firm believer that everyone has the ability to chase after something they want, and catch it if they have enough determination and discipline.  I think the one factor that often holds people back is fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of change.  Fear of taking risks.  Fear of failure.  Fear often paralyzes people and holds them back from living the story that God wants them to live.

My mom told me a story this morning about my step-dad’s dad (we’ll call him Steve).  When he was younger, he and his wife (we’ll call her Ann) lived in New York, and he worked for the FBI.  He hated living in New York and longed to move away from the busy city. When Ann became pregnant with their first baby, Steve knew he couldn’t live another day in the city.  So, he sent Ann ahead of him to a small town, and after quitting his job he soon joined her.  He didn’t have another job yet, and I can only imagine the fear he must have felt at taking that risk.  In the grand scheme of his life, however, that huge risk became just a small stepping stone that led him to where he wanted to be.  Needed to be.  In fact, he has lived quite a lovely story and has been blessed beyond measure.

This story reminded me of  an article I read not long ago.  This article made me really ponder this one question: what if?  What if I took that risk?  What if I actually threw myself full force into pursuing my dream?  What if I failed?  What if I allowed myself to live without abandon and without regret by pursuing my passions?  What if I stopped taking myself too seriously and gave myself a little more credit for the things I do well?  What if I stopped worrying more about what other people think of me than about what I think of myself?

When Jon and I decided to move to Thailand for a year, despite the fear, I kept coming back to this same conclusion: that if we didn’t go, we’d always wonder – what if?  What would it have been like?  What kind of relationships would we have built?  In what ways might God have changed us to be better than we were before?  I’m so glad I don’t have to wonder about those questions.  I want to look back on my life and see a story that possesses many victorious, joyful moments, yet also many difficult moments resulting from living so fervently that occasional failure was inevitable.  I’m praying that God will provide opportunities for this kind of story and give me the courage and the confidence to embrace them.

Sorry this post is a little heavy tonight.  But many things are heavy on my heart, and I need to talk them out, if even only in my head.  So, I ask you  – what might your “what if” questions be?  Please share them in the comments.  Feel free to make yours a little more specific.  Sometime soon I’ll share my own specifics with you, but for now I need to keep them under wraps:)  Thanks for understanding.

I hope to see you all again tonight for a wrap up of today’s eats – I’ve been a very bad food blogger the last couple of days, but I promise I’ve got photos just waiting to be unleashed:)

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