Yummmm…doesn’t that just sound good to say to yourself? Feel good food. As a self-professed, all-around FOODIE, my attention is easily swayed by the term, “comfort food.” I love everything about it…well maybe not everything.
As I begin to get older, my metabolism starts to slow down, and I become more health-conscious, reality sets in that while comfort food is mighty tempting (especially after a loooong day at the office) I am beginning get convicted by how the long-term effects of unhealthy eating patterns far bypass the short-term pleasures of indulging in high fat/high calorie “yum yums” (my pet name for comfort food) simply because I either had a hard day at work or I feel as though I “deserve it.”
Now do not get me wrong. I am by NO means banning all of forms of indulgences; food is inevitably tied to our emotions. Food is to be enjoyed! Why else would God have given us taste buds?!
I am just becoming more conscious about the lack of balance we tend to have in this country when it comes to what we chose to put in our bodies and how quick we are to justify it, especially when it‘s connected to our emotions!
According to The Mayo Clinic, “Emotional eating is eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness.”
We can enjoy food, but we absolutely must learn to have moderation. And if we know that we are eating in order to change our emotions, intentionally in excess, then we need to take the steps to identify healthy alternatives to change your emotions without detrimental effects! (Trust me, I’m talking to myself with this one too!)
I can testify to how old habits are hard to break…
So, how do we take those necessary steps to towards coping with emotion in healthy ways rather than reaching for the Ben and Jerry’s when we are feeling a little blue? Furthermore, what makes comfort food so darn comforting?
It’s quite simple.
Comfort food is so darn comforting because it’s instant happiness in our mouths that gives us temporary relief from negative emotions in our hearts. If it isn’t instant happiness, then it is instant satiation. Either way you look at it, it’s a temporary solution to a problem that may run deeper than you are allowing yourself to recognize.
Again, let me stress that it’s not a crime for food to feel good. Food should feel good. But it just doesn’t feel good to be unhealthy in the end.
So, now that we have a basic awareness or reminder of what we may have already been told, now it’s time to act. Ignorance is NOT bliss…otherwise I’m sure you would not be reading this blog
Check out this article from Dr. Oz to get your gears going as to how to overcome emotional eating, Tips to Stop Emotional Eating by Dr. Susan Albers.
Then when you are ready to make some changes, here is a potential plan to help get you on the right track:
- Identify your most difficult emotions that cause you to emotional eat.
- Choose healthy alternatives to deal with those emotions (exercise, listening to music, practicing relaxation skills, etc.)
- Keep a journal to keep track of your moods and how you address them, be honest with yourself. Praise yourself when you practice skills to overcome emotional eating. Forgive yourself when you don’t. But above all, don’t give up!
- Get an accountability partner to you to help you when you feel weak! We can’t do this alone!
Knowledge is power!
I’m also digging into some research about the connection between specific foods and how they boost your mood.
Stay tuned…and stay healthy my friends (in my Dos XX voice LOL!)