In my last post, I admitted to emotional eating. I was anxious about things I could not control, and I needed to comfort myself in some way. Historically, I’ve chosen to eat in an effort to self-medicate myself; to try to chase away the negative emotions that I was experiencing.
Luckily, I recognized that I was not physically hungry, so I asked our onsite expert for some advice. She gave me some really helpful articles about Mindful Eating and Tackling Emotional Eating, and promised to give me more good tips to use and share.
Since I cannot control the issues creating the anxiety, I need to find a way to deal with the emotions that arise from those issues, without eating! One of the articles suggested that I create a Comfort Kit. A Comfort Kit is a container of suggestions and objects that can be used in the immediate moment of need when I am tempted to eat. The container must be where I need it, when I need it, and contain items that I can use in a moment’s notice.
For example, I can keep a pair of sneakers and some socks in there and go for a walk around the campus. I can keep a People Magazine in there and take a 15-minute break to just read about other people’s lives. Another item might be my favorite Disco Hits CD – I can put it on and listen to “I Will Survive”, which always puts me in a good mood.
The second article warned me about getting caught on “autopilot”; eating to satisfy an emotional need without even realizing I’m doing it. Today I realized it, and can work on some tactics it suggested.
Stop! – Realize that this is not physical hunger, but an emotional need for comfort.
Breathe – Take a natural pause and gather my thoughts.
Reflect – Think about why this is happening. Ask myself, “Will eating this make me feel better for any longer than it actually takes to eat it?”
Choose – Choose some other solution to the problem rather than eating.
Evaluate – Did the option I chose help? If so, try it again the next time a crisis hits. If not, try something different.
Above all, I need to realize that I’m simply a human in a world that I cannot control. What I can try to control is how I react to stressful situations.
I’ll keep you posted.