Eating For The Wrong Reasons?

Many people talk about eating for reasons other than being hungry.  

Whether triggered by feeling stressed out, down and depressed or feeling happy and in need of a ‘reward’, different emotions and different states of mind for anyone can potentially contribute to someone’s decision to eat, or not eat.

If I feel nervous or anxious about something, I tend to lose my appetite due to the butterfly feeling in the stomach that seems to manifest itself.

One client shared with me that in her mind, when she’s really stressed out, reaching for something to eat that she thinks of as ‘comforting’ seems like a good idea at the moment, even though she is completely aware that five minutes after she has that piece of cake or cookie, she’s going to be beating herself up about it, and the fact that this very behavior is what’s keeping her from shedding the twenty plus pounds of post baby weight she’s been carrying around for two years.

I’m certainly not a psychologist, and have no intentions of making light of this type of emotionally-rooted scenario.  However, having worked closely with clients for over fifteen years in an area (fitness & wellness) in which the mind/body connection makes itself omnipresent, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to many different people’s accounts of why they’re eating when they’re not hungry… and to try and help come up with viable solutions.

Following are some pointers that have proven helpful to clients and friends, for that matter, to help them remodel their food related behaviors.

  • Replace one behavior with another rather than trying to just stop the unfavorable one.  Our minds respond better to ‘what to do’ versus ‘what not to do’.  For example, instead of saying “I am never going to eat chocolate again”, you might say, “When I feel stressed out and am craving chocolate, I am going to take a 15′ walk, focus on my breathing and see if I can tune in to what is making me feel badly”.
  • Clean out your kitchen!  It’s as plain and simple as the nose on your face.  If it’s not in the kitchen, it’s far more easy to avoid it.  Remove all the non Paleo foods and don’t keep ‘Paleo treats’ in your kitchen, either.  Even if you’ve prepared my recipe for Paleo Truffles, which are meant to be eaten perhaps once per year, which are made of raw cacao, coconut oil, almond butter and a drop of honey (all Paleo ingredients), the idea is not to have them on hand to eat regularly as though they were an everyday option like apples and kale!
  • Rethink your reward system, if you have one.  Take food completely out of it for yourself and your family.  Whether you had a great day at work and got a promotion, or had a horrible day and had to fire your assistant, you still need to eat the same foods.  If your daughter brought home a report card full of As, or she failed her chem quiz, she still needs to eat the same foods. If your husband brings home a big, fat bonus from work or if he comes in to announce he’s been sacked, he still needs to eat the same foods.  Get the gist?   Rewards are great, but keep them food unrelated.
  • Take one day at a time and remember that you can control the now and the future, so don’t dwell on should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.

It’s never too late.  You have one body and one life, so take charge, move forward and own it.