3. New Years Eve
Yeah, I get it.
BUT the holidays are over.
Now if you’re me and the majority of people you used to date are recently engaged, married or pregnant your first thought is, “Dear God. That could have been me!”
If you’re like most normal people, seeing your friends and family parade their good fortune around could really bum you out. Big time. (Yes, we know it’s not their fault and they have a right to share their happiness. Blah blah: I don’t want to hear it.)
Somewhere between your “Day of Regret and Shame” and your “Self-Induced Depression over current state of Body” you might decide an extra gin and tonic, or another helping of mashed potatoes, or another cookie… or an entire gingerbread house would taste REALLY good.
SPIT IT OUT! IT’S POISON!!!
No, I’m kidding.
But I do think it’s important that emotional eating is brought up.
Me? I’m an emotional puker. Anyone who knows me can corroborate that story.
I’m not saying that being an emotional puker is better than being an emotional eater, but around the The Cycle being one is definitely going to pack on fewer calories than being the other.
In my short lifetime I have heard many older/wiser folks complain about holiday weight gain or say, “Watch out for the holidays!” as though they’re a monster who sneaks in while you sleep and forces fudge down your gullet.
I don’t think it’s the holidays that should be “watched out” for but I do think the accompanying stress, loneliness, money-anxiety, family-anxiety, anger, feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt should be kept under watch. Those are the big ones: the pound-packers. The chubby-makers. The fat-factory. Man there are a LOT of fun ways to say that.
Emotional eating is eating for any reason other than being hungry. So you aren’t getting the tummy rumbles and
light-headedness that come from being hungry, instead your ex-boyfriend from middle school just got engaged to his uber-peppy fitness trainer girlfriend of 6 months and it suddenly feels like a good idea to eat ALL the spaghetti.
There is an idiom floating around in the universe that goes something like this, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.”
This is true and The Cycle is prime family time. This isn’t to say that your family (and not your friends) are the only people who can stress you out, but your family knows you very well and your extended family thinks they do so they usually bother you best.
Eating when you are not really physically hungry leads to extra poundage on your person. Now add all that extra special, extra terrible-for-you holiday food within easy reach and you slam right into “Self-Induced Depression over current state of Body” which if you’re an emotional eater–and you are, will probably cause you to eat MORE.
Another cycle for another graph.
The point of reminding you that you can’t choose your family is this: there are going to be things and people around you who will make you anxious. It’ll be difficult to avoid them.
I think it is more important to recognize the things that trigger the response of emotional eating. That, you’ll have to do yourself with some quiet reflection. I don’t offer quiet reflection here.
If you cannot or do not want to figure out what triggers you, at least know the signs of emotional hunger vs. physical hunger.
- Empty stomach feeling
- Tummy rumbles (or growls but that’s less cute)
- Being dizzy, tired, light-headed
- Cranky, can’t concentrate
- Happens in an instant
- Crave one specific type of food. Like bacon.
- It is hunger that you have to fix IMMEDIATELY or else.
- You feel guilty when you’re done eating. (I mean soul-crushing guilt, not the giggly “I’m out with my GIRLS! Oh my God, we’re so bad -winky face-” guilt.)
I’m not going to say it won’t be hard to kick the emotional eating habit. It will take a lot of strength and time and patience but the payoff could be HUGE.
Not to get too touchy-feely but I think Socrates advised us to, “Know thyself.” I mean, he said it in Greek but whatever.
Also, it might have been a NUMBER of other Greek gentlemen, like Pythagoras, but I thought he was more in to triangles than philosophy. However, if it was Socrates I get to use this cool graphic I made:
Point being: I might still be the girl who gets really annoyed at work and says, “I need bacon,” but now I know why.
And finding that one emotion-food has made it easier to find others. It’s also made it easier to be annoyed and say, “I need bac–k scratches when I get home.”
Your best bet is being prepared. That, and not being too hard on yourself at Thanksgiving when you eat the whole pumpkin pie because no, you STILL don’t know what you’re going to do after college even thought it’s been 5 years.