OK, I admit it. This knee situation got the better of me this past weekend. On Friday night I had fabulous plans to go to a friend’s movie premiere and after-party celebration. I was psyched about going, and especially grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with some people I haven’t seen in a long while. I couldn’t wait to get lost in a movie receiving critical acclaim and watch a friend fulfill his dream! I was looking forward to it all week.
However, the weather didn’t cooperate. Snow was accumulating and the streets slushy, the location out of my neighborhood, and I overdid it the previous day. With a sigh, I made the “adult” decision not to go. I felt like an old lady.
I was bummed to say the least! Home on my own for the weekend, 6:00 pm on a Friday night and I was already bored. I found it difficult to focus on reading so instead clicked around the TV (my alma mater was in the NCAA tournament!), Facebook, and did things like synch my iPhone. And…I ordered pizza and dessert from my local Italian favorite.
OK it was whole wheat, thin crust pizza with truffle oil, some greens and mushrooms (I don’t do well with tomato sauce), and a homemade crepe with banana and nutella (heck chocolate is known to improve mood right?). But still, those are foods I rarely eat. Clearly I was emotional eating and turning to comfort food.
On the positive side, at least I ate early with plenty of time to digest prior to going to bed!
When I confessed to my husband via phone he was very envious, saying, “why can’t you eat like that when I’m around?” Poor guy, the only time he gets pizza is when his sons are visiting!
We all go off some times. We know we’re doing it, yet at the time we don’t care. I’m not a fan of beating oneself up when these moods strike – thankfully I gave that up long ago. And I’m not one of those health coaches who pretend to be perfect. No one is and I don’t profess to be. I go by the 80/20 rule: eat well and be physical 80% of the time, and have some flexibility the other 20% of the time.
The most important thing is not to punish yourself afterwards. To let it go, and get back on track. Often people say, “Oh, well, since I went off, I might as well keeping going off.” Um, NO! If you go off, that’s totally fine. Just get back on course right away. Otherwise weeks can go by and the next thing you know you’re way off and feeling terrible.
By letting it go and making it the exception instead of the rule, you stop the cycle and put yourself on a path to feeling great. Plus, in truth, that processed and sugary food I ate Friday night pretty quickly turned from an emotional euphoria and serotonin boost, to digestive discomfort and poor mood. How fun is that, and why would I consciously want to continue?
If you emotionally eat, you’re not alone! I saw one statistic that said 75 percent of overeating is caused by emotions. Imagine if we could address just a small percentage of that!
Experts suggest the following tips to ward off emotional eating:
Get some sleep – Lack of sleep decreases leptin levels, the hormone that tells you you’re full, whereas a good night’s sleep has shown to aid weight loss. Plus, if you’re exhausted and lack energy, you’re likely to binge!
Get in touch with your feelings – That ole “why am I doing this” ought to be taken seriously. When you suppress your feelings, you don’t deal with them. They are real! Honor them, address them and you’re less likely to go off.
Manage your stress level – Chronic stress leads to increased cortisol production (the stress hormone) and results in cravings. Also, if you’re stressed, you’re likely to “reward” yourself with food. When you notice you’re stressed, consider getting a burst of exercise or practicing deep breathing before heading to the vending machine.
Find a satisfying alternative – Instead of hungry, you may just be bored (like I was). Find something else to entertain yourself. Instead of grabbing for that sugary, fatty food, how about you call a friend? Take a walk? Write a note? Sounds lame, I know, but it works!
Surround yourself with a supportive circle – Studies show that when we eat with friends, they influence what and how much we consume. Be a good influence and socialize with those who are.
The bottom line is to allow yourself to indulge and not hold it against you. Forgive yourself. Give yourself the leeway to “go off” when you need to, make it a short-term detour and move on! Pick yourself up and get back on track right away.
You’ll feel great and your body will thank you for it!
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™
Compassion Corner: Beautiful act of compassion by Police Lt. Gregory, offering an arm to help Asia Ford complete the last two miles of a 10K. Asia has been struggling with her weight for years and decided to address it after her husband lost a limb due to diabetes. Kudos to you, Officer Gregory, for helping Asia complete her goal. Asia said it best: “You don’t have to be 1st, as long as you don’t give up and you finish, you are a winner.” Well-done Asia! You can read about it here.
Share acts of compassion you exhibit and I will include them here weekly!