When you think of emotional eating, what’s the
first thing that comes to mind? In the traditional sense, many people think it
occurs when they’re bored, sad, happy, lonely etc. Even if you don’t consider
yourself to be an emotional eater, I encourage you to keep reading as it can
apply not only to how you show up around food but can also come up with
shopping, drinking, exercising, etc.
In a recent workshop I ran, we talked about the common themes that lead to self-sabotage and lacking willpower. After sharing some of the themes, tools and strategies, one of the women asked what tips I typically give people when they eat something out of alignment with their goals so they reach for the healthier option. Since my role as a Health Coach is not to give specific tips and tricks of how to avoid eating something you would consider indulgent, I asked if she would be willing to share an example.
Did you know that only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals? Unrealistic expectations are a big reason people don’t end up sticking with their resolution. Even if you’re not into setting New Year’s resolutions, this can be the case with setting any goal.
Being consumed by the thought of food is not just about thinking about what you’re going to eat from meal to meal. It’s also what I call mental gymnastics around food. Before a meal you might think about what the best choice would be. You’re not 100% sure so you go back and forth about whether you should or shouldn’t eat it. Then, afterwards you continue to think about the food choice. Was it the right one? Maybe you feel guilty about it and beat yourself up. Or, maybe you tell yourself ‘it’s OK. I’ll do better during my next meal. Speaking of the next meal, I should eat a salad to be healthy. Oh! And how many calories did I just consume? Can I afford to eat what I have planned for dinner?’
When I started my journey to become a Health Coach I decided to start working with my own Health Coach, Ali Shapiro. Even though I had lost 60-pounds and was maintaining my weight, my thoughts were consumed by food and constantly thinking about when I was going to eat next. It scared me to think that I could possibly get hungry and be ill prepared without any food on hand. I thought there had to be a better way other than the exhausting mental gymnastics. I had done one of the leading weight loss programs for years with success in getting down to my goal weight. However I was missing one piece of the puzzle.
Through the years of my own self-discovery, one of the biggest insights I’ve had is that while we may be on a journey with our weight, we never fully arrive. For years I would focus on how life would be different and better when I hit my goal weight. However, in 2008 that dream came true, yet life wasn’t easier and I still wasn’t happy with my body or my weight. In the past I have opened up about my challenges with maintaining my weight and I fully admit that I still have challenges. In all honesty it’s difficult to admit that I still have my struggles. However, I want to share more about my journey in case you feel the same way so you know you aren’t alone.