Ahhhh….my old pal Emotional Eating….
Today’s challenge invited us to make lists (LISTS!) following the 5-5-5-5 pattern. List 5 ways to relax, 5 people to comfort you, 5 activities that provide soothing, and 5 places that are comforting. All in an effort to be prepared when emotions threaten our good eating intentions. Like many folks, I eat when I’m happy, sad, bored, anxious, fearful…you name it – I’ll eat my emotions. Every time.
An old Weight Watchers trick that has stayed with me over the years taught me to pause before kitchen cabinet surfing, put my hand on my stomach and ask myself if I’m physically hungry, or emotionally hungry. If I’m not physically hungry (which, truly, is rare), I refer to my 5-5-5-5 list, GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN, and distract myself for 15 minutes. In my case, I always gulp a big glass of water and get my hands busy (there is always a load of laundry to fold somewhere, right?), take the dogs for a walk, flip through a magazine, read a book, etc. Generally this does the trick for me and the craving passes.
Fortunately for me, I’ve never been an evening muncher, but my health coaching clients often list this as a primary complaint. I encourage them to plan ahead for an enjoyable evening snack, eat it, then brush their teeth. I also recommend preparing a cup of hot water with fresh-squeezed lemon after dinner to cure the sweet-tooth longing (also great for your complexion, cleansing your liver, etc!).
I recently read the book SHIFT, written by Tory Johnson, of Good Morning America Deals & Steals fame, (which I highly recommend). It’s a quick, easy read about her journey to lose significant weight and I found it appealing because I sometimes forget that behind all the glitz and glam of morning television, that she suffers with weight and self-image, just like the rest of us. Anyway, in her book she describes a munchy night, and her cure became painting her fingernails. After all, she couldn’t reach into the bag of chips while her topcoat was drying. GENIUS! 🙂
One of my best tricks – especially with Thanksgiving coming up next week – is to place a piece of gum in your pocket, and when you feel satisfied, but tempted to keep refilling your plate (or snack all afternoon), pop the gum in your mouth to satisfy the need to nosh.
Works. Every. Time.