Emotional Eating: We’ve all been there…..
Everyone at some point struggles with their weight management. Whether you have it under control, or whether you fall off the band wagon, we’ve all been there.
I have often heard from my clients that ‘it’s easy for you, you’re a personal trainer’. Let me make one thing very clear. The struggle that I personally face with and about weight and food is a very real one. Yes, I am a trainer, therefore I should know better right? But I too, fall off the nutritional path more often than I’d like to admit. I can and do maintain a regular training regime – anything from weights training, to cardio, to Steady State Cardio. All the while, gaining weight if my diet is unchecked.
When I do fall off the band wagon, it does become hard to reign myself back in. Slowly slowly I form bad habits. Nibbling ‘crap’ food constantly – which means I’m conditioning my body to want to eat all the time. And when I do get into this phase, I get down and low about myself and my eating behaviour. I put on more weight, which upsets me, so I eat more…. Just like every other female out there.
I then feel bad about myself. I feel guilty. I get angry at myself for forming such bad habits, knowing how hard it will be to stop them. I get emotional, I become sad and I’m really down on myself. So much so, that I walk around like someone has died and often get asked if I’m ok.
This feeling interrupts my day to day behaviour, and most importantly, it effects the way I am with my children and husband. Whom I often transfer my anger onto. I have noticed, that once I feel and become this way, my whole family suffer for it. Which, of course, leads me to….. you guessed it… more guilt, and more food. It’s a cycle that is very hard to break. The more upset you are with yourself, the more you want to eat. Then you eat and you let yourself down again. It seems like there’s no end to this cycle of destruction.
To make things worse, my body type is that I can put on 2 kgs in 1 week if I allow it to. Yes, 1 week. And 2 kgs on my petite frame, let me tell you, is a LOT. And you’d think it would come off in 1 week too right? No, unfortunately not. That will take 3 weeks to burn off, with a good meal plan and good training.
Then you’re all motivated and shit. You have a really good week, and you’re on a roll. Things are looking good. Then the husband pulls out some chocolate, or chips and eats it right in front of you. You become frustrated with the lack of support from your partner. You say no to his offer coz you’re better than him anyway…. Right…., But two days later, when you’re tired from work and kids etc, he offers to pick up burgers for dinner so you don’t have to cook.. Aaaaaaaaand we’re back to where we started.
Why am I telling you all this… I want you to know, and believe me when I say, I know what you’re going through. I know what it feels like and the emotional turmoil that comes along with this. And I know the real struggle that goes on physically, emotionally and rationally when dealing with food. It’s not easy.
And all the while, you know, rationally, what you need to do. Right? You know what needs to happen for this to stop. You simply need to pull that finger out of your arse and make those changes. You need to make better food choices. You need to get out of your own head space and eat some concrete instead of chocolate…. Start to form good habits again. Start to actually think about what’s going in your mouth…..
‘You know what you need to do’ is often the answer I get when asking other fitpros for help. And you know what? I actually do know what I need to do (regardless of the lack of motivation to do it). But does everybody else know what to do? Do you really know what you need to do? With so many different opinions and information out there. With so many people who instantly become ‘experts’ on nutrition… Do you really know?
I’ve put together 5 fairly simple steps to avoid Emotional Eating:
- If you really, really, want that chocolate/biscuit, piece of cake – give yourself an hour. If you still want it in an hours’ time, then have it. Hopefully after an hours’ time, esp if you have little ones constantly calling your name, you’ll become distracted with something else and leave it. Sometimes having no time is good.
- If you do give in and have the treat after an hour, don’t feel bad about yourself. You ARE allowed to have treats. Just try and break the week down, and maybe don’t have that extra piece of bread at dinner, or try and take out something else sweet throughout the week to make up for it. As soon as you feel bad, you know the cycle happens all over again.
- Phone a friend. You know you’ve got a handful of people you needed to call anyway right?! What a perfect time to call them. Hopefully its someone who can support you through this and motivate you to not binge. But it doesn’t have to be. A distraction is good enough.
- Go for a walk. Grab the dog, the child/teenager/husband and go for a walk. Or just take yourself, by yourself. Clear your head. It doesn’t have to be long. The natural endorphins will kick in and you’ll feel so much better about everything, including yourself – you won’t want that Oreo biscuit (or 5) when you return.
- CHALLENGE yourself. See if you can hold off on that new Picnic Chocolate you’re recently discovered you love. You’re not saying ‘no’ to yourself, you’re actually saying, ‘yes’ – but in 3 days time. Because your brain isn’t saying no, you’ll find you get over the craving/urge faster than you think. And when the weekend arrives, enjoy that chocolate bar without the guilt.
- Spot the triggers. If you can spot the emotions that makes you feel you need/want to eat, then you’ve covered half the battle. Put that emotion down on paper. And every time you feel that way again, make sure you do not put food in your mouth. Otherwise the above mentioned cycle starts all over again.
Life is a constant chaos. We are all busy. Telling yourself that ‘its not the right time for me to take care of myself’, or ‘I’m too busy to worry about nutrition or training’ is not helping you. We are ALL busy. We just need to make a conscious effort start forming good habits again. This effort never stops. You will have good periods, and bad periods, but the point is to not give in to it indefinitely. Pick yourself up, and start again. ALL THE TIME.
Stay Safe and stay Strong