#52 - The power food has over me!

I'm staying home from work today since it's a bit of a snow day. Actually it's a sleet day, and I don't want to drive on the slippery streets. So I'm sitting here eating my breakfast, and I start to think about what I want to make for dinner tonight. Then I think that since it's so cold, maybe it would be nice to have the oven on and bake something. But what about lunch? What should I make for lunch? Then it occurs to me. It's 9 am and I'm already planning my food day, I mean my snow day. I hate the power food has over me. I always seem to be thinking about and planning my next meal. Whether or not I'm on a diet, food is front and center in my life. I hate that! I think a lot of people blissfully float through the day only thinking of food when their tummies begin to grumble. I would love to be like that! It really is days like today that I need to fight off the need to graze all day long. That's probably true for many people. You're home, you're bored, you eat. Maybe instead of planning my food day I should be planning to do other stuff around the house to keep me busy. Maybe it's time to knit some socks, or maybe I should organize my office, there's always laundry, or even cleaning the cat box. Whatever I do, I really need to try to keep myself busy today! Hopefully I can't distract my brain from constantly thinking about food.

But it's not just boredom that makes me reach for yummy treats, it's pretty much any emotion. Are you like this too? Do you find yourself reaching for chips when you're sad, mad, glad, or, frankly, feeling any other emotion? I sure do! I think this behavior gets set up early in life, at least it did for me. Woo hoo, you got an A on your report card; let's go out to eat. Ah your boyfriend broke up you; have a cupcake. I know you're stressed out trying get your paper done; let me fix you something to eat. This probably started out with my parents and grandparents giving me treats when I needed comforting, but eventually I learned to self-medicate with food myself. We probably get introduced to emotion eating from celebrations. We always have special cakes on our birthdays, or a special treat for a job well done like getting a good report card or scoring a goal for the soccer team. We eat for these good emotions. We're happy, excited, elated. Then someone eventually gives us something to eat to help us heal. You're sick? Here's some chicken soup. You're sad? Here's some cookies. So these friendly gestures ended up turning into me trying to fix my emotional issues with food. I'm sad, I need a cookie. I'm stressed out, I need some chips. I'm bored, I need to go look in the cupboards for something to eat. I'm tired, I need something to eat then I'll feel more energy. Somewhere along the line I went from saying "I want something to eat", to saying "I NEED something to eat". Food has become this guiding force in my life. It's taken over a big part of me. I hate that! I hate that food has such a power over me!

So what can I do? I guess I need to re-learn how to cope with emotions. Like today, I'm bored, therefore I need to find ways to keep myself busy. And if I do bake something today? Well, then I need to eat whatever I make in moderation - no half a pan of brownies for me! Most of all I can't beat myself up if I do end up turning to food sometimes. It's gonna happen. If I feel guilty about it, I'll probably self-destruct and just eat more. I guess I just need to take baby steps. Try not to let food dominate my life. Listen to music if I'm sad. Workout if I'm frustrated. Knit or clean or read when I'm bored. And to celebrate? Well I'm still gonna have cake on my birthday! You can't give up food in every situation.


Lori G. said...

I really do understand how you feel as I feel this way all the time. It's hard to celebrate anything isn't it without food being involved. But when it's a snow day, everyone goes out and gets all snacky.

I've been having PMS and eating. So I've been having the 100-calorie grasshopper cookies by Keebler. I'm trying to learn how to cope with my feelings and not stuff them down with food. It's painful at times. But it's necessary.

may said...

thinking about food is like breathing to me, and just like you, it would be great to be like everybody else who just never think of food. that's why i have diagnosed myself to be a food addict. it's honestly like an alcoholic addiction or something.

Over said...

Food addict, that's a good term - no one uses it. I feel like I plan my days around food. Like if I'm away from it for too long, I may starve to death. When I leave the house, I think to myself - it's ok, Burger King is on the way. It's almost comforting to know I'm not too far from a 'food fix.' I know that I also eat instead of coping with feelings...I'm trying to work on that, it is the hardest thing ever!

Anonymous said...

I can relate to lots here too. I catch myself planning my food day at breakfast, and having those days where the horizon is mapped with snacks. I feel guilty and then i feel panicked by the thought of that being taken away. It's like food has been a hobby for me.

To counter this - and it's worked brilliantly - i started a diet diary where i wrote my feelings down before i ate anything so i could see the emotional reason and not repress it with the chemical reaction you get from eating. It's helped me be more honest with myself, and that process basically led me to the world of diet blogs. So i feel like i've come full circle!

Catherine said...

Working out when you're feeling frustrated is a great idea -- not just because exercise is good for you and will help you reach your goal, but also because it provides an excellent outlet for your frustration and you'll feel much better afterwards. When I have a really crappy day at work and am stressed almost to the snapping point, I come home and get on my stationary bike after I take the dog for a walk. An hour later, my inner peace has returned and I no longer feel like strangling anyone. :)