How I handle food temptation
This week I want to give you a glimpse into my life and how I too struggle with temptation and desire. I’m not perfect and I don’t claim to be. I’ve got lots of experience using food as a coping mechanism. I’ve got lots of experience regretting what I’ve eaten. I’ve logged quit a few hours wondering why I wanted to drive past the Krispy Kreme more than anything but ended up stopping anyway.
I’ve done the work. I’m still doing the work.
That’s why I say it’s progress not perfection. I don’t think I will ever be one of those women who
realize at 3 pm that I haven’t eaten lunch or
look at chocolate molten lava cake on the menu WITHOUT being tempted.
Yet I have learned how to navigate my feelings around food. I no longer eat to suppress any of my emotions. I no longer eat on auto-pilot without thinking. I no longer stuff myself until I am uncomfortable. BUT, I sure do see chocolate and think about how much I want to eat it.
I don’t teach that you need to eat clean. I don’t teach that you need to swear off all chocolate or any fried food. I guide you to set your own set of parameters around eating. Today I wanted to share a tip or two on what’s been successful for me and invite you to try it.
The number one skill I rely on is
AM I HUNGRY?
I pause before I eat (even one bite or one sip) and ask myself this question.
This can be tricky because hunger is subjective. I remind myself that if the answer to that question is no, then I am at risk to gain weight from giving the body calories it does not need and has not asked for. If it needs energy (in the form of calories) it will let me know as evidence by my empty feeling stomach or a stomach growl.
Another skill I use often is called Play it Forward.
Again, I pause when tempted to eat something that my internal voice says I shouldn’t. I ask myself 3 questions.
If I eat it, how will it make my body feel?
If I eat it, how will affect me mentally?
Is it worth that price?
If you are like me when you eat outside the parameters you have set for yourself, guilt is sure to follow. I recently did a video on the purpose of guilt. Check that out if you missed it. (click here)
I recognize when my trigger is an emotion and I have really worked on increasing my emotional intelligence. Having emotional intelligence means I can easily recognize and name my feelings. I know how to appropriately embrace them, process them and express them. Today, I really don’t get triggered to eat very often due to an emotion. My temptations now are more about external cues. I’ll give you an example. Sadness used to be a huge trigger to me. Being sad was uncomfortable for me. I felt weak. I felt like being sad meant I couldn’t handle what was in front of me. Tears also made me feel vulnerable. That made me VERY uncomfortable. When I used to feel sad, I would resist. I’d distract myself with cookies.
Now, I let myself be sad.
The last time I was sad was Mother’s Day weekend. My mom passed away in 2017 and I am not a mother. So that weekend was sad for me. How did I deal with it?
I told myself it is OK to feel sad. I had a valid reason.
I isolated. I did not answer the phone or reach out to anyone. I didn’t go out with friends to distract myself. I needed alone time. Saturday I took a long walk and listened to music as I thought about my mom. I brought up good memories. I grieved that she is no longer here to create more memories. I reached out via text to my cousin Donna who is spending her first Mother’s Day without her mom. I posted a photo of me and my mom on Facebook and found support in all the comments.
If tears come up then I let them flow. I befriend the emotion instead of doing all I can to avoid it.
If you find you are tempted to eat due to your feelings, ask yourself if you are numbing out, pushing away or delaying those uncomfortable feelings. The answer is to increase your emotional intelligence so that food no longer provides a solution.
Watch my video and I give you an example of my real life temptation outside a cookie store in my neighborhood. click here.
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