This was one of my more popular posts, originating last year. However, I wanted to re-post it as a follow-up to “What’s in a number?”
You are what you eat. Most of us have heard this reiterated since childhood. We’ve probably put it to use ourselves, in an attempt to discourage “unhealthy” eating habits.
Why we eat, is just as important as what we eat.
You are on your way home from work, which happens to be a 90 minute commute. Today traffic is being rerouted, bypassing your exit. Your little one should have been picked up 15 minutes ago, and the sitter wants to know “how much longer?” Your eldest son has football practice, and is now contending with the sitter for you to pick up his call. Your husband is also waiting to be heard, but his call gets dropped. You finally make it off the expressway. Your husband called back, and is on his way to the sitter. Your son phones again–but this time it’s to tell you football practice is Thursday; today is Tuesday. You actually get a unemcumbered trip home.
Even if this isn’t quite your life–you get the idea.
Now perhaps you have had a late lunch, even munched on that “healthy” snack while sitting in traffic.
Yet what will most of us do within the next 30 minutes? Forty percent of us caught in this or similar scenarios, will stop at McDonald’s, Burger King, Brown’s Chicken, or whatever franchise is nearest and dearest. A portion of this forty will order take out. If you are not part of that percentage, there is a sixty percent chance once you arrive home, one of your initial actions will include opening the refrigerator; even if you don’t have to prepare a family meal.
Sound a little more familiar?
Women are usually portrayed as the poster children for emotional eating. Starting in our teens (and often earlier), we develop a love-hate relationship with food. Yet if we take a second look at the above scenario, this could have been Dad–caught in the same situation. Who’s to say his actions wouldn’t include a trip to Burger King or Popeye’s? Maybe, maybe not.
While our emotions may not be gender biased, perhaps our reaction to them, is. Either way, taking a step aside as well as one back, is the best way to assess the situation.
While I am not an emotional eater, I fall into the category of emotional non-eater or faster. If I am truly stressed, I can go for days without eating. However once the circumstance is resolved, the “flood gates open.” Also, if I find myself hungry before bedtime, I CANNOT go to bed that way. There are few circumstances I find worse, than laying in bed hungry.
Before I find myself post-stress, I know I must prepare. Easy access is key. Keeping cereal bars low in fat & sugar, and other snacks in the house that will not translate into pounds on my body, are part of my preparation. Once I feel able to eat a meal, the idea is I won’t want to drive to the nearest rib joint or fried chicken place (though these are always a temptation).
For me, assessment and planning are tantamount to staying on track. Recognizing my triggers, then preparing for them before the deluge ensues, is part of my plan.
Many ideologies and theories exist on emotional eating. None of them mean much, unless you realize what is happening, and find a suitable solution. Hindsight may be 20/20. Yet that hindsight comes with a cost. It may mean the difference between the 20 lbs you gain, or 20 lbs you won’t have to lose.
All for now. Keep up and keep at it.
Questions? Comments? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org