So you had a bad day. Isn’t there a song that starts like that?
We all have bad days. If you’re like me, you immediately ransack the pantry looking for leftover holiday candy. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, if it’s chocolate, you’re going to hide in a corner and shove it in your face before the kids catch you.
Pretty soon you realize that you’ve polished off not one but 10 “snack” size snickers bars. And your stomach probably hurts, but you’re still eating. Because stress eating.
Just me? No?
Sometimes life happens. I get it. I’m a stress eater. While some stress eaters may have one trigger food, I have about a million.
I’m a nondiscerning stress eater. I’ll just as soon eat a whole can of freeze dried apples as a bag of candy bars.
It’s about the quantity…not the quality when I’m stressed. I’m absolutely not proud of this. I hope that’s obvious. It’s a hard thing to deal with, especially if you have social anxiety, which causes stress to rear its head at things like potlucks and weddings.
Fun times, y’all. I’ll be the one by the buffet filling my plate for the 10th time. But I’m working on it. I’ve recognized that I am also what’s known as a stress snacker.
If I’m having a rough day at work, I will walk past the candy bowl a few too many times. Or snag 3 pieces instead of one. I’ve learned to not keep snacks in my desk, obviously.
Since I’ve decided to focus on my health, I’m trying to pay more attention to what causes me to want to eat all the things.
Before You Eat Your “Trigger” Foods
When I feel like I need a snack, I’ve been asking myself some pointed questions. I actually have them taped to my wall. I’ve discovered that often I’m eating because I’d rather do that than deal with whatever is bothering me or the huge project I’m procrastinating on.
What caused you to reach for that particular food? Are you stressed/happy/hungry? What happened right before you sought out a snack? Is there a huge project looming? Are you angry? Did you forget something?
Figuring out what is at the root of your need to put food in your face will help.
Is There a Better Option?
I get it. Chocolate is the bomb. But there are better things you can snack on. Think about better options that you have available. Do you have some nuts? Freeze dried fruit or veggies? What about a pecan pie Larabar?
Deal With Your Feelings.
Brainstorm other ways to deal with stress, depression. anxiety. happiness, sadness, etc. Instead of eating, what other activities could you do with your energy?
- Do you like to write? Start a blog.
- Exercise? Go for a walk or do a quick workout.
- Cook? Make a casserole to freeze for later in the week.
- Learn? Read a book.
- Escape? Go get your nails done.
For some people, this means finding what I call an acountabilibuddy. Oaccountabilityility partner. Whatever. Find someone who you can be totally honest with. Lean on them when you need help.
If you don’t want to share publicly (or privately), then consider keepign a journal. But you’ll have to be super clear and honest. What you ate needs to be written down in your journal so that you can go back and figure out WHY you gained that .5 pounds (or didn’t lose).
Keep Moving Forward
Perhaps most importantly, you and I need to realize that fitness is a daily journey. It’s very important that you learn from your mistake and then…
Do NOT let one little indiscretion completely derail your efforts.
Just because you ate ALL the Pringles does NOT mean that you can continue to be a human garbage disposal or vacuum everything out of the pantry into your mouth.
Wait it Out
Not surprisingly, if you can hang on for just 5 to 10 minutes, most cravings will pass.
We all have off days…for me, they usually follow holidays (especially ones where candy plays a larger role). You are gifted some candy, or someone brings their kid’s Halloween leftovers to the office, and you think “why not?” Next time, donate the candy to your kid’s school…or the rubbish bin.
Here’s to a fresh start (and no more tummy aches)!!