Like most people, I started the year feeling optimistic and hopefully. There were many projects on the horizon that seemed to be falling into place and it seemed like it was going to be “my year.” Well we are not even a week into the new year and all of those projects have disappeared leaving me feel defeated and surprised. I was not expecting to be ready to end the year before we even finished the first week.
In the past, I would have taken these feelings of defeat, depression, disappointment and sadness out on my stomach. I would have had a Dairy Queen blizzard in one hand and a candy bar in the other, drowning my sorrows in yummy, unhealthy treats. This time around, I’m not doing that.
I have previously talked about how I started using Take Shape for Life with Medifast in September and now I eat with a purpose, and it’s hard, but worth it. Take Shape for Life has taught me many valuable skills when it comes to eating, being healthy and losing weight. These skills are relatable, they strike a chord. Let me share some of the valuable lessons I have learned that have helped me avoid the emotional eating at this rocky patch of life and maybe they can help you too.
- Be aware of everything that goes into your mouth. I’m guilty in the past of being in a “zombie” state and not even realizing when I was shoveling things into my mouth. I’m now conscious and aware. When anything is headed toward my mouth I make a purposeful decision on if I will consume it or not.
- It’s about overall health, not just weight. When I started my health journey I decided that I needed and wanted to be healthy all around (mental, physical, spiritual) and that losing weight was a bonus on the way.
- Drink some water. Chances are you aren’t hungry at all, you are thirsty. I drink 100 ounces of water a day. Yes I have to pee all day long, but I feel a lot better when my body is adequately hydrated.
- Take a time out. When things aren’t going your way, instead of heading to the kitchen for a snack, head to your bedroom or a quiet place. Lock yourself in the bathroom if you have to. Have a little moment alone. Take some deep breathes. Take a time out to process and come up with a plan. Go for a walk, head to the gym, grab a glass of water. Do what you need to calm down without resorting to junk food.
- Don’t keep the junk in your house. If donuts, candy and ice cream aren’t in your home, then you don’t have the option to eat them when you get emotional. In the beginning I was really annoyed with myself for not having the junk food in the house to turn to, but that was my emotions speaking. After I calmed down and had a level head about the situation, I was so glad the junk wasn’t there because I don’t think I would have been strong enough to resist.
- Change your habit. Along the lines of #5 and relating to #7 is changing your habit. If it is your habit to grab a cookie when you are sad or disappointed, don’t have it in the house, and then change you habit. Make your new habit going for a walk, doing 25 jumping jacks, or running up and down your stairs 5 times. Create a new habit and a new response that your body craves when you are upset. Make it a healthy option.
- Keep the big picture in mind. Is eating a donut or cookie going to help with the problem? No! Will it help you feel better? It won’t! It might make you temporarily think it helped, but in the long run, it hasn’t helped you. Gaining weight, slowing down, becoming unhealthy isn’t going to help you. If you absolutely must have a snack when the emotions hit, grab a cheese stick or an apple with peanut butter. Make good choices because that will help you feel better emotionally longer than the junk will.
I know it’s hard, it definitely takes practice. Even after 4 months of this lifestyle I’m not perfect at it, but I have greatly improved. This week with all the stress and disappointment I have grabbed my water bottle instead of the chocolate. I’ve been cleaning out clutter instead of the cookie jar. In the end I feel a lot better about life, my situations and my health!