Ah, emotional eating. Last week I talked the talk; this week I (attempted to) walk the walk.
I stumbled a bit, shall we say.
Monday, at least, was smooth sailing. My strategies were fresh in my head, I was well rested from the weekend, and I completely rocked my swim workout. So I had no problem stopping eating when I was full, keeping my paws off the few trigger foods left in my house, and keeping mealtime distractions to a minimum. I was proud as a peacock. Emotional eating, begone!
Then things started going downhill.
It started when a client came to me with an unexpected—and last-minute—editing project that ended up being much more involved than it first appeared. Now I’m a freelancer, so I sure don’t mind having plenty of work, but I hadn’t exactly mapped out my schedule with a rush project in mind. And the week only got more intense from there.
So first came the stress snacking, and then later, after some late nights and early mornings, a couple of exhaustion-fueled food free-for-alls. (I think you know what I’m talking about.)
When I was on a roll, the rules were totally out the window. I didn’t stop eating when I was full. I loitered in the kitchen, grazing on hoof. And I let cravings be my guide, going for the sugary, fatty stuff. (Which, given that I’d expunged most of the crap from my cupboards, meant wraps, nut butter, and dried fruit. I can be amazingly resourceful in my hunt for trigger foods!)
Yet it wasn’t all bleak. Although I had some slips, I had some victories, too. Since I’m an upbeat gal, let’s talk about those victories, shall we?
Work it out
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I did swim workouts at the pool. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights I cruised through the “witching hour” without nighttime nibbling. Mere correlation? I think not. I’d never realized how powerful of an influence exercise could be, but now that I know, I’m going to make sure it’s a part of my routine. And frankly, I’m not certain I would have made the connection (or hit the pool nearly as often!) if reader and fellow blogger Cassandra Frear hadn’t commented on how much walking helps her curb cravings. (Check out more of Cassandra’s great tips on her post, Four Ways to Weigh Less, over at Moonboat Cafe.)
Eat that treat—mindfully
Even as I gave it a nod in last week’s post, I was a little skeptical that giving in to emotional eating—as long as it was done mindfully—could help anything. Yet that little tip was incredibly effective.
Case in point: Well before lunch on Friday, I found myself in the kitchen, overtired and out of sorts, nuking a gluten-free English muffin (which I had bought specifically for a recipe I had planned, since muffins of all kinds are pretty reliable trigger foods for me). My plan was to throw some applesauce on that bad boy and inhale it right there—most likely on my way to noshing something else—when I stopped.
I thought back to Michelle’s Fat Nutritionist post. Per her sage advice, I first acknowledged what was going on for me emotionally. Then, having already picked a favorite food—an English muffin—I made it beautiful and decadent, spreading it with cashew butter and drizzling it with deep, rich sorghum. Then I sat down and savored that chewy, delicious muffin.
Every. Last. Bite.
When I was finished, instead of feeling remorse, I actually felt more settled than when I started. In fact, I calmly identified some strategies for dealing with my issue and—drumroll, please—walked away from the table. In less than ten minutes, a food frenzy was completely short-circuited, and I got right back to my workday.
So, as odd as it sounds, I’m glad it was a tough week when it came to emotional eating. Because real life means times of stress and sleep deprivation—and now I have two new tools for eating in balance.
How was your week? Did emotional eating sabotage your good intentions? What did you do to stay on track?