I am a stress eater. When life starts to hand me lemons, I make lemon pound cake. What this really means is that I am an emotional eater. I allow my feelings to dictate not only what I eat, but how much I eat.
This emotional eating includes good feelings as well as bad ones. When I’m feeling good, food can be a reward, and when I’m feeling badly, food is my best friend. It’s something I struggle with constantly.
For example, right now I am having a particularly stressful week at work. Things are very busy and I have multiple deadlines all due by the end of the week. Yesterday, when two of my deadlines were pushed up, my immediate thought was lunch. Odd, right? Not for me. My plan yesterday was to run an errand for my brother and then grab a turkey sub on whole grain bread from Subway®. But suddenly thoughts of turkey subs turned to meatball subs with extra cheese, bags of chips, chocolate chip cookies…well, you can see where this was going.
Surprisingly thought, I held strong. I ran my errand and then trotted off to Subway® and bought my turkey on whole grain with lots of veggies. I even tried honey mustard for the first time of which, I have discovered, I am not a fan.
Today…not so successful. After a very busy and stressful day, I broke down and ate a large bagel with cream cheese on the train ride home. Not the worst thing I could have eaten, but I certainly could have made a better choice.
So what did I learn from all this? If I REALLY want to (and I do, I swear), I can ward off emotional eating. I am strong enough. I just need to be mindful of what I’m putting in my mouth and ask myself two questions:
1. Am I really hungry or am I just [fill in devastating emotion here]?
2. Is what I am about to eat going to ultimately make me feel better or worse?
The answer to No. 2 by the way is always worse.
I could have lied a few paragraphs ago and said I indulged in an apple, or a handful of almonds, but cream cheese bagel was the truth (the creamy, delicious truth), and that’s what I’m writing on this blog. Not every day is going to be perfect and not everything I eat is going to be the best thing. What I’m learning is that it’s ok that every day isn’t perfect, and it’s ok if I don’t choose the best thing to eat. I’ll always have another chance tomorrow.