I've been thinking about stress eating. This is something that I do.... frequently. And I've also been thinking about my calorie intake over the day.
Why do I stress eat? I feel like I probably already wrote a blog about this a while ago and probably nothing has changed. I stress eat because life is stressful and eating gives me a momentary break from the stress. It's pleasurable to eat and feel the enjoyment - the taste and sensations of the food.
Does this ring a bell with anyone? I'm guessing the answer is YES! I know intellectually that eating doesn't solve the problems. I read a good quote, I think here on sparkpeople a long time ago. It was something about how being overweight or overeating isn't the problem. It's the solution.
It's the (false) solution to a problem.
It is the result of trying to avoid another problem. When I think about the problems I'm trying to avoid by eating, they haven't really changed over the past few years. They include things like:
1) family stress
2) health stress
4) financial stress
I am so fortunate that I have a husband, we have a safe place to live and enough food to eat, and two bright kids. But that isn't the whole picture. There are times when I feel incredibly trapped in my current situation. At times I feel guilty for struggling emotionally when I'm so fortunate. But we are all wired differently and I legitimately struggle with many things related to family dynamics and health anxiety. We all know that life isn't easy, no matter what your situation. What I would like to be able to do, when I feel stressed and feel the urge to eat something as a "treat" or a "break," is to do something constructive. This could be:
1) ACTUALLY taking a break.
Maybe lie down for 5 minutes and read a book to escape. Or walk around the block for 10 minutes.
2) Drink a cup of tea. That is a no-calorie, relaxing treat.
3) Work on solving the problem, or work on solving some other problem! So I feel like I'm making constructive progress towards something.
What about my calorie intake over the day? After tracking my food for a week or two now, I can definitively say that I do pretty well on keeping my calories low for breakfast and lunch. But mid afternoon things start to slide.
Dinner can be hit or miss, and after dinner I tend to grab snacks or treats. I know that this is for a few reasons:
1) Decision fatigue
2) Actual fatigue!
3) Willpower fatigue
To combat the decision fatigue, I've started printing out the sparkpeople weekly menus. Although I don't shop for and follow the meal plans, the weekly menus give me a template that I can follow. And I have to make fewer decisions.
For the actual fatigue, I try hard to get enough sleep, but if I can't, I'm going to try having a cup of tea in the afternoon or a quick lie down/rest.
Willpower fatigue is a tough one. Let me confess right here that I bought from our grocery supplier a 5 pound box of chocolate chips about a week ago.
Now, I KNOW this wasn't a good idea.
I KNOW that it's easier for me to just keep the treats OUT of the house. Because if they are IN the house, then I have to resist them EVERY DAY. But tbh, in this COVID era, I wanted to be able to bake chocolate chip cookies for my family so that we could have them on hand.
The prospect of a bleak fall and winter just seems so depressing. I thought having cookies around might cheer us all up. Will it? I don't know, probably. But should I be eating handfuls of chocolate chips every day? NO!!!!!! And having them sitting in the cabinet means I have to use my willpower continuously to avoid eating them.
Which I fail at. No one sees me sneak in the kitchen and grab those chocolate chips, so I can grab them pretty frequently. But if anyone knew how often I am sneaking them, I'd be really embarrassed! (You all don't count for embarrassment, because we're all working together towards being healthier in a judgment-free zone, right?). So I'm going to put those evil chocolate chips somewhere that I can't sneak them. I will be too embarrassed to go get them multiple times a day if someone will see me do that. From now on, those chocolate chips are going to live in my husband's office.
Here's hoping that the rest of today will be a better day than yesterday was.