You have been doing so well. You have been tracking all of your food and you are saving up your bites for an upcoming dinner party this weekend. You have enough bites in your budget for the indulgent dinner and even have some left over for a glass of wine or a small dessert. But then something happens. Maybe you get to the party and realize you don’t know a lot of people and that makes you pretty nervous, or maybe you were running late and got super stressed while getting ready, or maybe when you get to the party you see an ex with a date and now you’re feeling kind of bummed about it. Point is, your emotions are all whacked out and ALL your planning goes out the window.
There are so many factors that control what and how much we eat. We basically self-medicate with food and it is our drug of choice. Boredom, sadness, stress, and even the feeling of joy and happiness can trigger these potent urges.
Environmental influences can also drive our reasons to eat. Like smelling the mouth-watering BBQ at a picnic or walking past a bakery and drooling over the diet-crushing smell of chocolate fudge cake. Food has been made so accessible and millions of dollars have been put into making you WANT THAT FOOD. But luxuriating in a piece of Grandma’s apple pie only becomes a problem when you are unable to control yourself. If occasionally treats, environmental factors like an office luncheon, or you’re being upset about a lost promotion put your bite budget in danger, you my friend, are an emotional eater.
Here is a quick quiz to determine just how much your emotions are running the show.
Answer these questions and give yourself
0 pt for Never
1 pt for Sometimes
2 pts for Generally
3 pts for Always.
0-5 You are in complete control
6-10 You generally don’t have a problem but some foods hold power over you.
11-20 Yes, your emotions can sometimes determine how much of and what you eat.
21-30 Your emotions and thoughts continually revolve around food.
1. Does the scale influence your mood?
2. Do you crave certain foods like tacos or chocolate?
3. Are you able to stop eating when you eat certain craved foods?
4. Does boredom, stress, or sadness make you eat more?
5. Is it hard to control how much you eat certain foods?
6. Do you find you eat more tempting foods when you are alone?
7. Does eating certain foods make you feel guilty?
8. Do you have less control when you are tired?
9. When you go over your bites do you go off plan and binge?
10. How often do you feel food controls you?
If you found yourself anywhere between 6-30, there is some room for improvement. Just identifying you have a problem is the first step. Now you need to investigate what and why. Think of some foods you crave often. Do you have weaknesses? What are some situations that caused you to overeat? Make a list of everything that triggers you to self-soothe with food.
Once you have a grasp of what your emotional eating habits are, you can begin to jump off the Merry Go Round of emotional eating and get a handle on your eating. By no means is this exercise supposed to leave you feeling worse about yourself or your eating habits. Just like with any problem or shame that we have, the first step to a resolution is to name it. It’s all about your why. So no, overindulging doesn’t make you bad, it’s the heart behind the action.
Author: Coach Mindy