Healthy eating while flattening the curve: Part 1, Emotional Eating

As we are all settling into our reality of the COVID-19 crisis, I think it’s important to talk about finding balance in our food choices. In this post, I’ll share thoughts about overcoming emotional eating, especially comfort foods.  As I mentioned, I think it’s important to have balance right now- the truth is that we are in a “marathon” type of situation. While it’s fun to have treats or food we don’t usually eat, it’s not necessarily something we can do for the long haul.

Remember, in the end, when you eat that comfort food, it might be comforting for a few minutes or hours, but it is not resolving the issue that is causing the distress. That’s the same if you’re reaching for food when you’re sad, lonely, angry, etc… it’s a temporary distraction.  Now is the time to stop emotional eating and find other ways to cope with these feelings. While there’s a lot that we don’t have control over, you can choose to take control over this- and here’s how: do something that will help you resolve the need that will actually help resolve the feeling.

Here are some things you can do for “comfort” that would actually be “comforting.” Reach out to others who are supportive- whether it’s your pets (or people) at home or beyond, reaching out through the phone, texting, Facebook, etc. Some other ideas- bundle up in soft, comforting blankets or clothing, cuddle up with a stuffed animal (if you don’t have something already, grab a stuffed bunny next time you get out for groceries). A bit of a bigger investment are heated blankets, “weighted blankets,” which can be found online, or even a heating pad. Notice the themes here- warmth, softness, and a bit of healing of the inner child via return to the security blanket and teddy bear. There’s wisdom there- these things actually provide “comfort.”

A final thought on food choices… we are in a unique situation. Sometimes the food we “normally” eat isn’t available, or maybe you just want to have something different or a treat. Or there’s something special you decide to choose to eat for your springtime holiday (ummmm Cadbury eggs, anyone??). Go for it, enjoy it- make that choice, because that’s not the same as “emotional eating,” it’s making a choice about what you eat and when you eat it- and by doing that, you’ll actually eat less of that treat and you’ll actually enjoy it more.

If you’re interested in more information about emotional eating, I highly recommend two books:

The Secret Language of Feelings A Rational Approach to Emotional Mastery, By Calvin D Banyan.

Reprogram Your Weight: Stop Thinking about Food All the Time, Regain Control of Your Eating, and Lose the Weight Once and for All, By Erika Flint.

This is a 3-part series, please be sure to take a look at the other articles for additional information!

Part 2: Time, Tools, Tenacity

Part 3: Overcoming Distracted Eating

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