Emotional Eating

Terri’s View: You had a bad day with the kids or at work. You want to find a snack. You had a great day with the kids or at work. You want to find a snack. Whether you are feeling up or down, high or low, it is our emotions and not our stomachs that sends us to the fridge. We celebrate any occasion or event with food, and it is always around us as we need it to live. But we need to eat to live, not live to eat.

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Terri’s View: You had a bad day with the kids or at work. You want to find a snack. You had a great day with the kids or at work. You want to find a snack. Whether you are feeling up or down, high or low, it is our emotions and not our stomachs that sends us to the fridge. We celebrate any occasion or event with food, and it is always around us as we need it to live. But we need to eat to live, not live to eat.

Think back to some of your favorite childhood memories. The smells of Thanksgiving, Grandma’s house filled with fresh baked pie, or Mom making your favorite meal on your birthday. My siblings and I still reminisce about Saturday lunches as all the food was from the old fashioned German butcher with home-baked bread bought and sliced right there at the bakery. It was such a treat as I always received mini-hot dogs or warm Laberkase (a German spam meatloaf) while I waited.

 

Besides just fueling our bodies, food gives us pleasure. It gives us comfort and just plain taste good. It’s no wonder that when things are stressful we reach for the cookies or chips. Everyone has stress, but not everyone deals with it the same way. Who doesn’t have some sort of financial issues, family drama or a spat with the spouse that makes your glands start to water? I know with the kids being off this week, by Friday Mama’s ready for some comfort! But when we eat just because we are stressed, at least for me, I know it doesn’t even seem to satisfy. The stress is still there and now I’m just mad at myself for overeating or making a poor food choice. How do we cope with our stress and not to run for the fridge? That is the question.

It will be different for all of us, but trying to choose a healthy alternative is the best way. With the warm weather here now, you can go out for a walk. A hard time of the day for me is late afternoon pre-dinnertime, as I find myself snacking too much. At least now that it’s warm, once my daughter is off the bus we can go outside and play and just being out of the kitchen keeps me at bay. The gym for me is the best stress reliever, but I know that is not the case for everyone.

How about cleaning out that closet or organizing those pictures sitting in a box? The sense of accomplishment when you are done and the “aaahhhhh” feeling you get when something is organized will make you feel oh-so warm and fuzzy! OK, maybe that’s a bit much but it kept you out of the kitchen!

 

Either way life is always going to be stressful. It is how we choose to handle it that will determine our success at living a healthy and happier life.

Ed’s View: I’m stressin’ this week! I’m sure all of you have experienced this. You’re doing well with your transformation and then you get the week from hell! Between the kids and the job, I wonder how anyone doesn’t get stressed. These are hard times, and it makes it easier to fall into the old habits, whatever your food fix was, you can hear it calling to you and your willpower is nowhere in sight!

It comes down to this; when you’re at this point you need to reach out to a friend or family member to let off some steam instead of reaching for the food. You can’t use food as a crutch anymore, you’ve come a long way since you made the choice to change and now you need to make a decision.

Some other ways to deal with this have been said in the past. You can go for a walk. Now that the weather seems to be taking a turn for the better, I enjoy taking the kids for a walk around the neighborhood. Just talking with them and seeing them makes me feel better about what happened during the day. The other extreme is a great workout; thinking about what got you stressed sometimes gives you that little extra to increase the weight you’re working with, the level you set your cross trainer to, or to have a great run on the treadmill.

If this fails and you do cheat, you need to get right back in the swing. You did it, you feel bad and now you need to get over it and refocus, remember we are also human and will make a mistake every now and then. Don’t let a mistake change your goal. We all hit a bump in the road, or sometimes huge potholes! But a friend said to me, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” So if you can get by the stress and the temptation you will be stronger. Until next time, good luck.

Blog written by Ed and Terri Masak
Ed and Terri have been married for almost 20 years. Together, they made the commitment to get healthy for each other and their 2...