Grab a cup of tea (or a glass of wine) and let’s be real with each other. I’ll go first. I am an emotional person. Like last night I watched This Is Us and could not stop sobbing…not just like subtle tears streaming down my cheeks but can’t-catch-my-breath sobbing. In my defense, it was a very sad episode. I won’t give anything away. Just go watch it. If you don’t cry you are made of stone.
The emotions can happen for no apparent reason. Some days you get a little stressed out or a little sad or lonely and turn to something that you find comfort in. That could be food. For many people it probably is. For me it is.
What’s your comfort food? I’ll take anything with cheese or chocolate…literally the two best foods out there. Gooey chocolate chip cookies are my jam. People who eat cookie dough I don’t get you…you’re eating potential! Jk jk. To each his (or her) own.
Sure there are other things to do when you’re feeling a bit emotional, or a bit off balance. But that doesn’t mean that emotional eating is the wrong choice or the wrong thing to do. It’s natural. It’s part of normal eating (Satter, 2016). You have the choice. And if you choose food, that’s okay.
Today I came home from work exhausted and feeling like I was coming down with something. I was tired. I missed my parents and Julie. I wanted so badly to play with Izzie and Lyla or even just cuddle with them. I felt frustrated with myself for not getting much homework done last week. I felt overwhelmed trying to figure out when I would get my runs accomplished this week. I just had so many feelings and nowhere to put them.
So when I went grocery shopping and American Flatbread frozen pizza was on sale I knew it was a sign. Or really I would have bought it anyways. I also had to buy beer for the chili I plan to make this week. I came home, curled up on the couch, had some carrots and homemade buffalo dip and cooked up the pizza. It turned out to be a great frozen pizza. Not as great as going to the actual restaurant, but pretty darn close. A nice cold Vermont beer made the meal complete. I also had a few chocolates because why not? But admittedly I felt guilty for eating more than what the nutrition facts label called a serving and for having chocolate, too. But just like Julie said in her post about running plans, menu plans or serving sizes don’t know that you are having an off day, that you are hungry, or that you just want/need a little extra comfort in your life (Morris, 2017). They are guidelines, not rules that define you as good and bad. Let’s let go of the dichotomous thinking all together.
I listened to a mind blowing podcast the other day. It was a Food Psych episode with Isabel Foxen Duke, who said that feeling guilty about a certain food means that the food still has some control over you (Harrison, 2015). I was running and nearly tripped while having this huge ah-ha moment. Isabel and Christy continued to talk about how not keeping food in the house means that the food still has the power and ultimately is a form of restriction (Harrison, 2015). What the…heck?! I have been restricting myself of chocolate because I feel guilty whenever I eat “too much” or “too frequently”. I have been restricting myself of chips, crackers, and cereal. These foods I have never kept in the house because I don’t feel in control around them. I have been restricting.
So what do I do now? Honestly, I take a step back. As Isabel says in the podcast episode, if I were to make a plan that would mean putting more control and more restrictions on myself (Harrison, 2015). Rather than putting chocolate into serving size baggies I am going to just let it be in my freezer. I have crackers in my pantry and cereal on top of my fridge. They are there if I want them. I walked through the grocery store telling myself I could buy chips if I wanted to. Turns out I didn’t want chips. Every night I tell myself I can have chocolate if I want it. And most nights I do. That could change or I just really enjoy chocolate and will have it most nights. Either is fine. Some day maybe I won’t have to eat a full serving to feel satisfied. Right now, I am a work in progress. Sure taking a step back scares the hell out of me. But my huge ah-ha moment this week made me realize what I want the most.
To be free of the control that food has over me.
To embody Ellyn Satter’s definition of normal eating (Satter, 2016).
To help others mend their relationships with food.
To be free.
- Satter E. What is normal eating? Ellyn Satter Institute. http://ellynsatterinstitute.org/hte/whatisnormaleating.php. Accessed February 24, 2017.
- Morris J. Tuesday thoughts – Adaptive running. Jules on the Run. https://julesontherunnh.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/tuesday-thoughts-adaptive-running/. Posted February 22, 2017. Accessed February 24, 2017.
- Food psych – All episodes. Christy Harrison. https://www.christyharrison.com/all-episodes. Accessed February 24, 2017.
- Food psych #36: Food sanity – How to stop fighting food with Isabel Foxen Duke. Christy Harrison. https://www.christyharrison.com/foodpsych/2/isabel-foxen-duke-eating-disorders. Posted January 27, 2015. Accessed February 24, 2016.