I reached my spoon down into the pint of praline pecan.
It’s the perfect last bite,
gooey caramel swirling around creamy vanilla ice-cream
with two delicious maple pecans
that will add just the right amount of crunch.
But I can’t enjoy this bite,
you see I’ve not only eaten the entire container of ice-cream,
but I’ve also devoured a full bags of popcorn,
half a package of cookies, and 26 Hershey’s Kisses.
I feel completely sick, disgusted,
I sweep up the remains and I throw them in the trash,
vowing never to eat that kind of crap again.
I collapse on the couch.
After a few hours,
the cookies in the trash call to me,
and I answer.
In a trance I stumble over the trash can,
find the cookies,
and polish them off.
Once again, my insatiable hunger
drives me to new depths of shame.
What’s wrong with me?
Why can’t I stop?
I’m such a loser!
By age 20 I was 50 pounds overweight.
I hated my fat.
I had a roll of fat on my tummy
that I would scrunch up in my hands,
and I imagine cutting it off,
like you cut fat off the side of a steak.
I sometimes wished I’d contract a disease
where I’d automatically lose weight without having a diet
I even considered joining the army,
so I’d be forced to excercise at bout camp.
I hated to exercise.
I was a yo-yo dieter,
up 30, down 20, up 10,
and as a result, I had several sizes of pants in my closet,
because I never knew what size I’d be.
My skinny jeans collected a lot of dust,
as I whiled away years
looking for the hidden solution to overcoming my weight loss problems.
I found that solution, I found that key,
and it wasn’t through a magic diet.
In fact, dozens of studies show
that diets generally have a dismal success rate.
Our recent study in the British medical journal
follows 22000 adults
on one of fourteen popular diets.
They found that within one year,
participants regained all the weight they had lost!
Yet, if you do a search on Amazon right now for diet books,
you get roughly 50000 results.
This was my experience.
No matter what diet I tried,
of course, I’d start out strong,
I’m doing it!
Looking good, feeling good, pants getting looser,
看起来不错 感觉也好 裤子也更宽松了
but then after a couple weeks,
things started to get hard.
I mean, really hard.
And in some point the tension in my gut will become so unbearable
that I will just break down and binge.
And I always put the weight back on again,
and then some.
So the million-dollar question is,
why did it get so hard?
My experience is that when I would diet,
all the feelings I had stuffed with excess food would come to the surface,
and I didn’t have the tools I needed to deal with them.
That’s what kept me stuck in a cycle of self-sabotage.
Eating was how I coped with life!
If I wanted to lose weight and keep it off,
I had to develop healthier means of coping.
This changed everything from me.
When I adopted healthy ways of addressing my emotions and stress,
my weight stabilized,
and my relationship with food became so much more peaceful.
I’m excited to share three of these key ways with you.
The first key was a change in my perspective.
Instead of focusing on what unhealthy foods were doing to me,
I started to address instead what their doings for me.
PEP is an acronym.
PEP, the first “P” stands for painkiller.
My painkiller of choice?
Praline pecan ice-cream of course.
So after indulging in any form of sugar, fat and starch,
my favorite three food groups,
I’d feel nothing.
I was unconsciously using food to anesthetize uncomfortable emotions.
But my eating ultimately brought on more pain.
The “E” stands for escape.
Because when life got a little bit too intense,
either from family stress, financial fear,
or just overall feelings of anxiety,
curling up with my favorate foods in front of the TV
always took me to a far away place, at least momentarily.
And the third “P” in PEP, punishment,
which seems counterintuitive I know
because yummy foods seem to be a reward.
But I was hardly rewarding myself when I’d overeat,
and end up feeling sick.
Yet I did this over and over again.
You see, I was not only an overeater,
but I was also an overfeeler.
I felt guilty about everything.
And I was also super hard on myself when I make a mistake.
So when cookies start calling my name,
I asked myself: what’s really going on?
Am I trying to perhaps numb painful emotions?
Am I looking to escape from something that’s overwhelming?
Or perhaps am I trying to punish myself
for something I’ve said or done that I feel bad about?
This is an easy way to begin making the connection
between my eating and my emotions.
The second key to find in balance is reducing stress.
So in my experience both personally and professionally,
overeaters tend to be overdoers.
I was always on the go,
always putting everyone else’s needs first,
never slowing down long enough to catch my breath
or eat a healthy meal.
Stress plays a role in elevated cortisol levels,
and cortisol increases appetite
and causes our bodies to store fat
instead of burn it.
So for me, an important and crucial piece of the weight loss puzzle
When I began to integrate self-care practices into my life,
I had more emotional balance,
and I have more energy.
And I no longer craved
coffee and chocolate for stamina.
So some of the traits that work best for me,
that I do every day are meditation and journaling.
But you may be thinking: “Hey lady, I don’t have time for self-care!
I’m a busy professional with a job,
three kids, and a neurotic dog!”
Think again, when we take time for ourselves,
we actually increase our capacity to give to others.
And we’re also better equipped to handle life’s challenges,
without turning to food.
So another key element of self-care
was changing ingrained habits that caused my stress.
So in my work,
I’ve observed several traits of emotional eaters that tend to be most common,
and I refer to these traits as the anatomy of the emotional eater.
The Achilles heel for most including myself,
So I lacked self-esteem and I chased
the other girls that make me feel worthwhile.
And as a people-pleaser, I said yes to everything.
Sure, I’ll chair the committee,
happy to host the party,
and of course I’ll do your job and mine,
and Jerry’s job.
I don’t know about your experience
but anytime that I really knocked myself out to try to please somebody,
they were never as pleased as I planned on them being.
So as not only burned out,
but I was also kind of resentful.
And this was the perfect storm for justifying yet another
I deserve it binge.
Changing this habbit
by learning how to say no when there’s too much on my plate,
so to speak,
really helped to reduce my stress and my feelings of hunger.
Now the last key in overcoming my emotional eating,
get support from community of other emotional eaters.
Research shows that group support increases weight loss results.
And it make sense, right?
I mean, temptations to eat unhealthy foods are everywhere!
Think TV commercials, check-out lines at the supermarket,
So overindulging is a socially acceptable pass time
that’s difficult to curb without support.
Plus, I gotta tell you,
there’s nothing more comforting than connecting with those
that really know the shame and humiliation
of behaviors like digging binge foods out of the garbage.
So you might be thinking,
isn’t it silly to need help with something as basic
and seemingly easy to control is what I put in my mouth?
Not so fast.
The truth is emotional eating is one of the hardest
of the addictive habits to break.
Why? Because we have to eat.
What we are up against is a really akin to
taking a growling tiger out of the cage,
trying to pat the nice kitty,
and then somehow get it back inside the cage without getting mauled.
Not so easy unless you have the right kind of support.
Sarah is a mom, wife, and award-winning producer
who is tired of her dependence on sugar.
Turns out she was numbing her feelings with more than just food,
结果她不仅用食物 还会用尼古丁口香糖 晚间的酒
things like nicorette gum, or evening glass of wine, and overworking.
Sarah would often work straight through breakfast and lunch
and pay for it with a late-night binge.
She never gave herself time to just chill.
Sarah was at the end of her rope when she reached out for help.
So within weeks of learning new ways of processing her emotions,
and addressing her feelings, and her stress,
Sarah was not only off all the stimulants that had kept her propped up,
but she was also feeling so much less anxious.
Sarah was coming home to herself, her daughters noticed the difference,
and even asked how they could adopt these same practices for themselves.
You can develop the same sense of peace.
Start by taking the PEP-TEST.
And really ask yourself what’s going on
when you find yourself taking yet another trip to the kitchen.
Is it for…
perhaps… a painkiller? An escape?
Or are you feeling bad about something,
and is it a form of punishment?
Next, manage your stress
by implementing self-care habits that can help you feel more centered.
And also take a look at things like people-pleasing
that may be causing you more stress.
And finally, nourish your soul through connection
and community with other emotional eaters.
They can help you stay accountable,
and stay on track with your goals.
These simple steps while having nothing to do with food,
can make a real impact on your food choices
and your ability to reach a weight that works best for you.
I’ll leave you with this.
I believe we can all enjoy our relationship with food and with ourselves
that is both peaceful and self-caring.
It starts with looking beyond the food for answers.