Kick Emotional Eating in the Butt!
We just got through the second week of corona virus quarantine. Fear of the unknown, job losses, social distancing, getting sick, being alone, not having enough food, and many more thoughts come through our minds. It is an odd time that no one has ever experienced. It is okay to feel uneasy about it, it is okay to feel alone— but you are not alone! There are many people with job losses filling for unemployment, there are many people sitting alone at home, there are many people fearing it will encounter them or an unhealthy family member…you are not in this by yourself.
This virus may be big, but our God is bigger! I need to go on partial unemployment, my husband works as an EMT, we have a 6 month old that he comes home to, my parent’s farm market is open—meaning my mom is around the public, we haven’t seen my grandmom in Pitman Manor since February, and I pulled my back out then fell down stairs during this time. My point is, a lot is going on over here. If this hit me years ago, I would be a nervous wreck and my anxiety would be soooo high. I still have anxious thoughts, but now I lean on the Lord to help me though these uncertain times.
“Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.”
Philippians 4:6-7 CEV
In high anxiety times, emotional eating is a common go to. I provided an emotional eating webinar for clients the other day. Many have come to me with their concerns of emotional eating, being stuck home with the pantry right there, and all the added stress. I am sure many other people are going through similar difficulties with this new normal. So I wanted to provide some background on emotional eating and tips to combat it.
There are many reasons how emotions affect eating:
- to please other’s needs before our own needs (focusing on your kids’ school work)
- feeling ashamed of something in our life (ex: this new change for working at home)
- being a perfectionist around behavior and afraid to make a mistake (ex: being the best employee, teacher for your kids, and mom with a clean house and healthy food on the table)
- suppressing negative emotions (ex: watching the news, feeling alone, or having to file for unemployment)
Everyone is different when it comes to reacting or handling a stressful situation. Some people don’t eat and some over eat. Many over eating thinking is focused around dieting, “good” vs “bad” foods, an all-or-nothing mindset, or wanting to give up control with food.
If this is something you are going through, I encourage you to go easy on yourself. This is a big change for everyone in the world, let alone NJ, PA, and NY. There is a reason why we all have different jobs. The Lord made us with different skills so we can do what the Lord has called us to do. Right now you are thrown with a job change to go virtually while teaching your kids, keeping the house clean, cooking healthy meals, getting exercise, and all while being away your friends and family. This is not the time to strive for perfection! Give yourself freedom!
We are also provided with all this time to build healthy habits. Let’s start with allowing freedom in our food choices. Throw away the labels of “good” or “bad” foods, diet, and all-or-nothing. When we label foods or tell ourselves we can’t have something, we want it more. When we eat that forbidden food, we over eat it, then we feel out of control and continue until we feel guilty after. It is a cycle, but it can be broken. Leave room in your day for a small treat (Ex: dark chocolate squares, 1 glass of wine, etc). Be patient with yourself, it will not be easy, but it will be worth it.
Your body knows you best, listen to your natural cues if you are hungry or not. If you feel you are eating because you are bored, sit back, drink water, and think if you are really hungry or can wait for your next meal time. Create a food schedule, for example: 7am BF, 9:30am S, 12pm L, 3pm S, 6pm D. If you are hungry before that time, have water and go back to work.
Focus on your behavioral changes you are working on, for example: trying smaller portions, cutting back on convenience foods, going for more walks, or listening to your body’s cues. Skip the constant weight checks and look at the behavioral changes you are working on or wear tight clothes and jeans. When we wear our sweats throughout the day, we can easily over do it. Putting work clothes on or jeans is a great test to go by.
If you are working at home, create a work space away from the kitchen. You will feel less tempted. Then when meal time comes, eat in the kitchen without any distractions. This will allow you to focus on your meal and to make healthier choices.
I hope some of these suggestions can help you gain a better relationship with food. You deserve to feel great and not let food challenges get in your way. Use this quarantine time to make you healthier!