Emotional eating! Sometimes things go ary, and you get uncomfortable. Most of the time we don’t like to be uncomfortable. In fact, being it can be very difficult to tolerate any discomfort for even a small amount of time. That will get you into trouble, particularly if you treat your feelings with food.

What is a feeling? Well, “feelings” or emotions is a sense. It is a guide.  So a feeling that is “good” or that you “like” will point you in a different direction than a feeling that is “bad” or that you “don’t like”.  We tend to move toward what we like and away from what we don’t like.

You can look at emotion as “information”. It is information about you or a situation. It is always an invitation to “the inner inquiry”TM. “Inner Inquiry”TM is about going within to find your answers.

Also emotions come in the form of waves. They start, flow, increase, peak, then ebb away. We often get caught in the peaking of the emotional wave and forget that it will ebb.

If you can’t stand any form of discomfort, you will do anything to stop an uncomfortable feeling. Food can be one of the things a person can use to stop an emotion.

Did you have an argument with your spouse? Does that really give you permission for that cheese cake? Did you have a bad day on earth school (work)? Do you tell yourself “I need that super delicious Starbucks latte”… and make that a Venti size with whip cream!”

How can you separate emotions from eating. Emotions need to be dealt with as an emotional experience. Eating needs to be healthy to maintain the physical body. They are separate things. When emotions start dictating what your eating habits are, that is a problem.

If you are eating because you are stressed out, bored or depressed you will be more likely to pick foods high in salt, fat, sugar, carbs. These foods lead to dis-eases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc, which will encourage more depression, stress and boredom (from lack of movement).

How do you stop emotional eating? Start by committing to a healthy you! You are so worth being the best you can be…. let start with a healthy body.

So put on your explorer cap and go exploring. How do you do that. Well keep a journal. Write down every thing you eat. All the food that you put into your mouth for meals and snacks. Include your drinks too…. all of the coffee, beer, wine, juices, etc and so forth.

Also note when and where you eat. I have been a home health and hospice nurse for many years. Usually there are more things to do than there is time in a day. Not good for many reasons. I eat lunch in the car when I am driving to the next patient or charting. Not too healthy. Need to change that habit. I often eat standing up! Why would anybody do that? Well I worked in ICU’s for about 18 years. Frankly I stood for 18 years. I catch myself standing to do my meal planing nad grocery list. Hate to admit it, but I am standing to write this particular blog. Came home from a very busy day with  notes to finish. I am still standing. Duh! Better work on that.

Don’t forget to write about why you are eating. Do I really need that Dunkin’ Donut coffee after a frustrating morning trying to get out of the office. No, I don’t. Some days I cave it. (Oh, such a lilly liver).

If you feel the need to eat after a confrontation with the boss or co-worker…. STOP! Eating isn’t going to solve the problem. Talk with a friend. In that moment you are emotionally deprived or “hungry”. That “hunger” can be translated to physical “hunger”. The problem is that in this case food won’t satisfy the “emotional hunger”. You will probably eat a lot and not be satisfied.

Rate your hunger on a scale from 0-10. “0” meaning not hungry and “10” being famished.

If you are stressed do the following: physical exercise, deep breathing, meditation, read uplifting material, energy tapping, sing, or say a prayer. And for heaven sakes, drink water.

Prevention magazine has an on line food diary. Look at the upper right info bar for the health tracter. It is right after the “400 calorie fix”.  You might want to check it out. It will take some time to imput your foods and habits, but it is worth it.

Think about your choices. Chose Life…. from the inside out, one healthy choice at a time.


Mary Pat

Mary Pat FitzGibbons RN MS

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