Emotional Eating and Food Triggers
Monday, July 09, 2012
I've really been struggling for about two months now with making poor food choices. Foods that I know affect my weight negatively, that make me feel sluggish and bloated and sick. But more and more I notice that they also make me feel emotional and anxious.
May and June are incredibly busy months for me. For weeks I went to work where things were very hectic, came home and tried to parent and care for the house, and then worked again for a few hours every evening. In addition to this, I maintained a relationship with my partner, hired a trainer and started a new exercise program (barely started it, but I'm trying if 2-3 days per week count) and started a class. I'm telling you this so that you can see that perhaps my emotions have as much to do with the chaos and feeling overwhelmed as they have to do with the food.
Anyway, now I am on holidays. All the rest is the same, but I'm not going to work every day. I am able to sleep, finally. And I can feel myself coming back to "normal". Unfortunately, my weight has paid the price and I am nearly ten pounds heavier than I was.
I've noticed over this period of time that I've also had very emotional moments. Crying easily and then twenty minutes later feeling calm and rational. Feeling anxious and vulnerable, followed by a quick shift into feeling relaxed and at ease. This is not normal for me. Yes - I have emotions and responses to life. Yes - I feel stress and anxiety regularly. But to swing like this so rapidly is unusual.
Yesterday I could see the impact my food has had on this. I've been making poor food choices, and within a few hours feel quite emotional. This levels off, and then I inevitably make a poor choice again later. Again, this is followed by a period of intense emotion. When I was eating "gluten-free" and following "clean, primal eating guidelines" I did not feel this. I reviewed my journal this morning, and I can see quite acurately that I did not feel this. Yes, I had emotional responses to stress and problems, but again, it was not this arbitrary or fleeting.
Curious about this, I went back to some of my readings. Let me share:
A November 2011 study on PubMed reported:
"....nutrition scores were more consistently associated with negative moods than positive moods, and with moods across a two-day span rather than a one-day span as typically studied in past research. The more calories, saturated fat, and sodium consumed by the students, the more negative mood they reported 2 days later. Results suggest that foods come first in the temporal sequence of food-mood relationships."
And numerous people at marksdailyapple.com and eatcleandiet.com blog about the impact eating sugar has on their depression, anxiety, and feelings of vulnerability emotionally.
So today I am focusing on detoxing, meditating, exercising, and seeing the impact this has on my thinking and processing of emotions. I may even have a nap and generally treat myself with kindness. I have planned a quiet evening with my partner, a swim, and a good night's sleep. Let's hope that some consistency with that these next few weeks will help me to regain the freedom from food-obsessive thoughts again.
Thanks for listening, as always.