So the question for the week is…Am I hungry?
How often do you eat because it is time to eat, because others are eating, because you are bored, or because you are experiencing strong and uncomfortable emotions? I know that I have done all of the above. I now realize that while I do eat when I am hungry, I also eat for so many other reasons.
Over the past few years, I trained myself to eat a snack between 0930 and 1030 each morning and around 4pm at work even when I wasn’t hungry. I realized yesterday that I don’t necessarily get hungry at those times of day. Sometimes I do, but not always. It doesn’t really make sense to eat a snack when my body is not asking for food. Why did I do it? Food rules. It was a rule that I internalized. The rule was: You must eat every 3- 4 hours. To take it a bit further, it was a rule I learned that was supposed to keep my metablism revving so I would lose weight. So the logic is – eat, even if your body is not asking for food, and you will lose weight. Hmmmmm.
I also learned to eat because others were eating. I admit, from my experiences with a less than pleasant marriage, I learned to be a bit of a people pleaser at times. If others were doing something, it seemed more appropriate to just go along with them rather than following my own path. It did not matter that I was not hungry. “Sure, I can eat!”
Boredom eating is not a huge problem for me, but it does occur now and then. Bored? Really? I am often talking about wanting more time to read a book or blog. That should be a part of this change – when bored I will read or blog.
Emotional eating is HUGE for me. It began as a child when I would come home from school to an empty house and eat. I’m not sure my parents even knew I was doing it. I would not eat out of hunger. I don’t really know what the emotions were, but I still recall these episodes of bingeing. Unfortunately, coming home to an empty house is still a trigger for me. It will be important to ask myself if I am hungry and if not, to do something else (something that fills me up emotionally and allows me to accept whatever I am feeling). When I am angry, stressed, or sad, I frequently have the desire to reach for something soothing to eat (without hunger). I work in an environment where people will often say, “I need chocolate” after a particularly trying event. They, too, are emotional eating. Last week, I began taking small walks in these situations and I liked the way it cleared my mind. I think I will continue to do this – at least until it gets cold and maybe still then.
So, that will have to be it for now…I am hungry and am going to go eat my lunch.
I added shaved Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and swiss cheese to this. Yum!