Have you ever eaten after you have just finished eating something? Have you ever been chewing, not even tasting your food, while perusing through your pantry for more? Have you ever celebrated with food? Punished yourself with food? Rewarded yourself with food? Eaten out of boredom? Eaten because it tasted good? Because you didn’t want it to go to waste?
If any of the above apply to you, then you are not alone; even I have succumbed to many (if not all) of the aforementioned at some time in my life. I remember so clearly in my Home Economics class in high school when my teacher told us how every single social activity we do revolves around food: birthdays, football games, holidays, get togethers, even meeting a friend for lunch or drinks. We associate food with pleasure and company.
Take away that pleasure and throw in a bad day at work or a stressful day with the kids and many of us seek food for comfort. I’ve noticed that for me — a Type A perfectionist personality — I have to feel like I have some control over my life. When I lose that control, I seek out any way I can to regain my footing, so to speak. I noticed that I sought food subconsciously and had been doing this most of my life.
I was raised by a single father who, bless his heart, let me eat whatever I wanted— no limits on any food at any time. As my brother and I got older and he worked longer hours, home cooked meals were replaced with drive-thru dinners and Little Debbie snacks. You’d be shocked to know that I was still underweight due to all of the sports I participated in. That is until I graduated high school and — BAM! — the weight suddenly piled on.
As a girl who ate like a trucker (two 1-lb steaks for a meal, four servings as a salad, and gorging on buffets until I lay in bed sick the rest of the day), I was never told to watch my portions, nor was I educated about nutrition. I was always encouraged to eat, and to be a thick girl was to be a strong, growing girl.
Only I wasn’t growing up as much as I was filling out.
Long story short, I met my husband who educated me about nutrition and portion control; I kept up with the nutrition and workouts and have spent the past 10 years educating others on the importance of it as well.
But…the emotional eating is always there. If I’m not careful, I’ll find myself slipping back into it — eating more carbs than I know I should because I had something unexpected pop up. At least I stop as soon as I recognize it. I try distracting myself, deep breathing and praying. What I find really helps me is going for a walk and visualizing how healthy I want to be and feel. I also tell myself: “I am not a garbage can.”
Exercise ALWAYS works for me. ALWAYS. Recent studies are confirming this as well. They state that when a craving hits distract yourself with a thirty minute walk, and by the time you are finished, your craving should be nonexistent.
If yours hasn’t, chances are you are dehydrated or you really do need to eat —real food.
What do you do to combat emotional eating? Any tips or tricks that work for you? I have many more, but I’m out of space!
Write to me and share yours! Let’s help each other stay the course!
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes.” To send in a question, email [email protected] She can also be reached at www.101FIT.com or www.PinkIslandFitness.com and 239-333-5771.