Beck Refresh Day #33: Stop Emotional Eating!
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Yesterday was so busy! And emotional. My husband's son is ill and had a crisis yesterday. It was especially hard on him and his son, and also hard on me. So again, a particularly timely lesson for me from Dr. Beck's book.
For those of us that use food to calm our emotions and deal with stress, this is a particularly hard thing to deal with. It's really important to recognize that food doesn't solve the problem. It may temporarily soothe the emotional upset but over the long term adds the discouragement of having gone off track and if it continues, the added weight. The obvious answer is to solve the problem, but sometimes we're too upset to do that, and as we know, not all problems can be solved.
So in the short term, if I am too upset to actually solve the problem, or if it is one that isn't quickly resolvable, Dr. Beck recommends using the same tactics I use to counter cravings. Label it - this isn't hunger, this is emotion making me want to eat. And then stand firm and say "NO CHOICE!" I am not going to sabotage my progress, my health and my ability to achieve my goals to a temporary fix that will harm me in the long run!
And again, I'm struck by the power of the concept of recognition. If I don't recognize what is happening, if I ignore it or deny it and literally continue to mindlessly keep doing the same things that haven't worked in the past, I will either stay where I am or continue to gain. And again, recognizing this is the first step. Label it, say it out loud, talk about it. Once I do that, the next steps are simple...but as I often remind myself, not easy!
And Dr Beck gives me great ideas for next steps - use the same mindset and behavioral tactics I used to deal with cravings. If I can't solve the problem right away (and that is tomorrow's lesson), I can use relaxation techniques (meditation, deep breathing), exercise and other activities and practices to calm me and bring me to a more peaceful place.
So, for example, last night as I listened to my husband tell me what was going on with his son and I felt bad for him, his son and also (I recognize and admit) the effect that this will have on our lives, I began to get sad and somewhat frustrated. Sad that they are suffering and frustrated at my inability to do more than simply be there for GC. And I was tempted to have a glass of wine to relax myself a bit, or have some of the chocolate my son left at my house. But instead I made a conscious decision to take some deep breaths, accept that this was reality and these were my feelings and stick to my plan. Which did not include wine or chocolate, which truthfully would not have made me feel better. I consider this a victory.
So while I can't say that yesterday was a good day, I can say that I was successful in keeping myself moving forward and on track in the face of challenges. And that's good.
Wishing health and happiness to all of my Sparkling friends. I am l lucky to have you.