Does this sound familiar? You’ve worked a long day, picked up the kids and a few groceries, and finally arrive home at six o’clock to a pile of laundry and several bills to pay – and you still need to get dinner started. All you want is to find some comfort in a mentally and emotionally exhausting day. That’s when curling up in a blanket on the couch with the carton of Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer starts looking like the perfect end to a horrible day. It will probably make your life better, even just for a few moments.
Have you ever been in this type of situation? Um, yeah – every day! We know, we’ve been there too. Haven’t we all?
Consider this: “Our relationship to food is a perfect reflection of our relationship to life itself.” This statement was made by Geneen Roth, author of New York Times bestseller, When Food is Love, and it says a lot about how people often eat and think about food.
People often turn to food not because they are hungry, but because they don’t know what else to do when feeling bored, sad, angry, guilty, stressed or unfulfilled. Food is an easy target for unbalanced or resisted emotions. Emotional eating means eating when you’re not hungry or not eating when you are hungry. Unfortunately, one’s daily diet doesn’t work when built on guilt, punishment or shame, and this is commonly the result of emotional eating.
Think about the way you eat. Roth believes that how we eat is the way we live – it’s how we spend our time, love, energy and money. Do you sneak your food when no one is looking? Do you eat on the run? Do you sit down in front of the television and hardly notice what you are putting in your mouth? Next time you eat, be aware of your surroundings, your emotions and the food you are consuming.
Roth recommends these guidelines for eating. Try them out and discover how your relationship with food and your life changes.
1. Eat when you are hungry.
2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety producing conversations and music.
4. Eat only what your body wants.
5. Eat until you are satisfied (and we recommend eating slowly to recognize this).
6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.
Do you sometimes eat for emotional reasons?