“Ahma-nomnomnom”: 10 confessions of an Emotional Eater and Tips to address it

I used to be one of those skinny kids that would have the metabolism of an oil rig and energy levels that still has my mother smirking when I recognize them in my now super-duper-active-run-here-and-there-one-year-old.  This little hyper, skinny heaven continued into my twenties as I happily enjoyed beer fueled nights and the hangover junk food that followed.

However, after years of enjoying the emotional roller coaster that is living away from family and friends, being introduced to the trials and tribulations of mommy-hood, and all the other daily challenges we all face… it seemed my weight was coming along for the ride.  My eating habits were reflected by my moods, and my moods in turn were scattered due to my eating habits (a pretty little loop which has been yo-yo-ing my weight continuously over the years).

I know it takes time, patience and a lot of hard work (oh yay), but like a lot of unhealthy habits, recognizing the stressors is the first step to setting up your new goals and finding ways to initially manage the cause of why you want to eating rather than the eating itself.

10 Signs you might just be an emotional eater:

1) You eat when you’re emotional…. yep. that was my first clue.

2) There are days when you will feel like a bottomless pit and will eat literally everything in your fridge (including a handful of grated Parmesan cheese and a half cut-up pineapple).

3) When you receive bad news or suddenly becomes stressed, you’re surprised that the first thought  in your heads is wondering what the roast chicken in your fridge might taste like on some rye with mayo. Food becomes somewhat of an obsession.

4) You wake up feeling great, as you confidently strut your stuff (often naked… but at home.. stay reasonable) only to find yourself sobbing in the corner of your closet clutching your skinny jeans a mere few hours later. You have a very turbulent relationship with your own body and if you were friends on facebook it would state ‘It’s complicated’.

5) You get excited about any fad product that will help you tone up without giving up yummy food (says the person typing this post whilst her abs gets electronically zapped by her ‘Abtronix X2’).  Note: Never watch daytime infomercials … just .. never.

6) You tend to eat when you’re bored even when you’re not hungry. You desire to eat tends to take on it’s own form and you find it hard to stop yourself (you even overeat).

7) Often you think you’re hungry, but you don’t necessarily want to eat just anything, but rather you prefer to eat one particular thing. This is a craving and not hunger (which can be brought on my emotions/stress)…. I have cheeseburgers flying around in my head all the live-long-day when I’m not feeling too hot.

8) You often don’t want people to know what you are really eating or feel guilty for eating. When you hide your food it perpetuates your belief that there’s something wrong with you. This often relates to the love/hate relationships with your body mentioned before.

9) Instead of seeing food as what it is (something you consume for survival), you turn it into something else. You become attached to it, give it emotions, and personify it. I’m not going around calling my bag of chips ‘George’ or anything, but a lot more focus is placed on the food and how it makes you feel rather than what it is supposed to do (fuel you).

10) Just like food is there to comfort you in need and bad times, you also see food as a reward or treat during good times. Emotional eating involved all emotions, the good and the bad.

Tips on breaking down some of the first bricks of the emotional eating wall

1) Don’t kick yourself every time you overeat. Making yourself feel guilty will only add to your stress and .. you guessed it… cause more emotional eating. When you’ve fallen off the wagon, try and recognize the stressors that lead to the eating and how you could avoid them or manage them differently next time.

2) Take a break before giving into the urge to eat. If you challenge yourself to hold off on grabbing that stick of cheese for 15 minutes might give you a sense of control. Sure, you might eat it anyway, but you held off for 15 minutes which was better than last time.

3) I’m no advocate for self-torture or anything, but sometimes wearing a rubber band around your wrist, and flicking it whenever you reach for the fridge, can help you become more mindful of your behavior and can help you intervene by assessing what’s going for you at that moment. (Helps with breaking any habit really).

4) Replace your emotional eating with a ‘quick fix’ that will keep your mind off it and place focus on something else. You can write down a list of things you enjoy as a quick fix (e.g.: making a cup of tea, quick breathing exercise etc).

5) Practice makes perfect!! Keep practicing the tools you’ve set up to help with you emotional eating, and even with a few failures and bumps along the way, you will become more aware and in control of your own eating habits.

My name is Stefanie and I’m an emotional eater… (*burp*)

eating

 

 

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Life Recipe: When…. you’re in a long-distance relationship

 

longdistanceFor some (well… for most of us) it can take a while to find that ‘perfect match’. Someone who you can finally connect with, and may see a possible future ahead that doesn’t include returning borrowed CDs and cutting out their heads out of all your pictures. But what if that special someone lives on the other side of the world (or even just in another city, too far to access on a regular basis)? That’s when we need to explore our creative side to keep the passion and interest alive.

(NOTE: This recipe also works if your partner is away on business a lot)

Ingredients:

– A fast internet connection

– Registration with ‘Skype’, ‘FaceTime’, ‘Viber’ or anything else out there

– A webcam (not compulsory, but it helps to add some flavour)

– A separate bank account or jar in your kitchen labelled ‘trips to go see *insert cute petname*

– A fool-proof hobby

– A nice erotic book/magazine, vibrator, tissues and lotion or a sturdy shower head for those well.. ahurm.. lonelier nights ….

– Patience (and a buck load of it!)

Instructions:

So you’ve said your goodbyes at the airport, and you’ve now come home to prepare for X amount of time without your partner.

1)      First of all, allow yourself to have a cry (yes, you burly, manly, tobacco-spittin’ men.. that includes you!!). Because no matter how much of a romantic picture the movies or your friends will try and paints of the situation to make you feel better, being apart sucks.

2)      Arrange regular Skype chats or phone conversations. The quantity of these varies from couple to couple. You may want to chat every day or you may want to miss each other a little and chat every few days or once a week. Focus more on quality then quantity.

3)      Video chats can be very off putting. Even though you can hear and see each other, it’s still puts a ‘damper’ on something that would come far more natural when you’re face-to-face. This may sound silly and far too organized, but sometimes writing down a few things you’ve been meaning to talk about can help the conversation flow. It happens quite often that you finally see each other and are too stumped to remember what the heck it was you wanted to tell them (and in my situation, they think the screen has frozen and hang up on you..)

4)      For those who are not afraid to dabble in some ‘sexy time’, set the mood… Turn off your phones, lock your door (this is especially important if you live in shared housing… ask my old roommate..) and choose your ‘décor’. A webcam does have its advantages where you can show off (or hide) certain parts of your body. Create a soft light effect to place yourself in the chapter of a cheap, steamy novel; or you can go all out there like a porn star (whatever blows your hair back). I wouldn’t show too much at once, as most video chats are prone to connectivity problems, and the last thing you want is a blurry, pixulated and very unflattering picture of your special bits!

5)      During the times where you don’t get to have contact, it is important to not emphasise too much on the fact that you are apart. Surround yourself with friends or family, or find a hobby you enjoy and can help you take your mind off things (not only useful when doing long-distance, but a general everyday wellness tip). Losing oneself in the seemingly experience of ‘loneliness’ will only make the time go slower. Of course, the occasional dunking of a bottle of wine or eating half a bag of chips and feeling sorry for yourself, as a way of letting it out, can help.. but in moderation.

6)      The ingredients that include various erotic toys need no further explanation. Don’t be embarrassed, everyone does it… and those who say they don’t are, in my opinion, bit fat liars.. (or missing out at the least!!) It’s completely natural and can even add some spice to point nr 4 .. go for it !! (Unless the reader of this recipe is a teenager… you shouldn’t be thinking about sex already.. now go put on a chastity belt… and stay in school!)

7)      Saving up to go and see each other is not always easy and will very much depend on how far you are from each other and if work-related trip can assist financially. For the money savvy people, open a separate bank account and be the good little saver that you are! For the breezy spenders (such as myself), buy yourself a pretty glass jar and place it is a visible space. Each time you have some spare change, the 20 dollar birthday gift from grandma in your card or extra cash you earned doing a double shift, stick it in the jar and save, save, save (tip: sticking a picture of your loved one can aid in motivation to put that money aside).

In the end, a lot of patience is required to survive a long distance relationship. Certain milestones, such as the date of your next visit together, the time of your next chat or even better the date you can reunite for good, also help in passing the time apart, and seeing a light at the end of that tunnel.