Hubby and I were playing Name That Tune the other day and the BJ Thomas favorite, Hooked On A Feeling came up… As I listened to the words they hit a chord, so to speak, in my mind… got me thinking about…FOOD! Following are the lyrics to the song. I have changed a few words to help make my point..
I can’t stop this feelin’ deep inside of me
Food,* you just don’t realize what you do to me
When I hold you in my hands so tight*
You let me know everything’s all right
I-I-I, I’m hooked on a feelin’
High on believin’ that you’re in love with me
Lips are sweet as candy, the taste stays on my mind
Food*, you keep me thirsty for another cup of wine
I got it bad for you, food* but I don’t need a cure
I’ll just stay addicted and hope I can endure
All the good love when we’re all alone
Keep it up, food*, yeah ya turn me on
I-I-I, I’m hooked on a feelin’
High on believin’ that you’re in love with me…
My whole life I have struggled with emotional eating. Even though I have become better at recognizing my triggers and have learned some tricks to help, I still struggle with it. I have been known to eat an entire jar of Nutella.. all by myself! At times, we all eat for emotional reasons. When we are bored, happy, sad, anxious, stressed… There could even be a different comfort food for each emotion! We are taught from a young age that when we are sad a sweet treat cheers us up. This is reinforced year after year until we are practicing the same behavior as adults.
What is emotional eating? It’s a vicious circle…
*Emotional hunger comes on suddenly
*You crave a specific food when you are eating to fill a void
*Emotional hunger feels like it has to be satisfied NOW! with the food you crave
*You are more likely to keep eating when you are full to satisfy your emotional need
*Emotional eating leaves behind feelings of guilt
Common sense says when you eat when you are not hungry, chances are your body does NOT need those calories, and if this happens too often, well, you are going to get fat.
So what do you do? You can take steps to control your cravings and get yourself back on course to attain your goals. These are some things that have worked for me and helped stop the emotional eating roller coaster.
*Recognize that it is emotional eating and learn what triggers this behavior in you.
*Keep a food journal. Write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you are feeling when you eat and how hungry you are. Over time you will see patterns emerge that reveal the connection between mood and food.
*Fight Boredom. Take a walk, call a friend, play a game, do laundry, do the dishes (my favorite).. just do something productive to take your mind off the craving.
*Get support. You are more likely to give in to emotional eating if you lack a good support network. Lean on family and friends or join a support group.
*Take away temptation. Don’t keep supplies of comfort foods in your home if they are hard for you to resist… i.e. Nutella! (I don’t have ANY in my house.. I know I can’t eat it responsibly). And if you feel angry or sad, postpone your trip to the grocery store until you are sure your emotions are in check.
*Don’t deprive yourself. When trying to achieve a weight-loss goal, you may limit your calories too much, eat the same foods and banish the treats you enjoy. This may serve to increase your cravings, especially in response to emotions. Allow yourself to enjoy an occasional treat and get plenty of variety to help curb cravings. Remember, moderation is key!
*Snack healthy. When you do get the urge to eat between meals, find a comfort food that is healthy, instead of junk food.
*Learn from setbacks. If you have an emotional eating episode, don’t beat yourself up! Start fresh. Try to learn from the experience and make a plan for how you can prevent it in the future. Focus on the positive changes you are making in your eating habits and give yourself the credit you deserve for making the changes that will lead to better health.