Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What Do You Really Want? Maybe Not Food

Here is a great idea I read about recently for working with emotional eating.

As emotional eaters, a lot of our desire or desperation for food is really related to our desire for something else. For example, we feel lonely and reach for food to make us feel better. Our true desire here is for friendship or companionship or a loving relationship. Or we’re bored so we eat, but what we really want is some excitement or something to do that we find stimulating.

The idea is to make a list of what we really want in our life, five items or so. Write it down, memorize the list or carry it in our purse or wallet, and when we recognize that we want to eat when we’re not hungry or we’re overeating (ready to dive into a bag of cookies), we can look to our list of wants and see if what we really want is one of these items rather than food. If so, then rather than mindlessly eating or stuffing down our feelings with food, we can take some meaningful step toward meeting one of our goals or manifesting a true desire.

Here's my list as of today:

1. A strong muscular body and good health.
2. Financial stability with some level of security in knowing that I can retire comfortably.
3. A positive move to the ranch.
4. A loving relationship with my husband.
5. A creative outlet, or many creative outlets like writing, blogging, art work.
6. Close friends who can be trusted to support me and to whom I can offer support that is appreciated.
7. A method of generating income that is creative, interesting and fulfilling.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Food is the Pillar of My Life

There was a question on a questionnaire I took last week about emotional eating habits - Is food a pillar of your life? Emphatically yes! Still!

There are times even now when i spend more time thinking about food than much else, what it is I'm going to eat next, and how long it will be before I get to eat again. A great deal of mental energy goes in this direction. I don't even know if this is something I need to consciously try to change or if it's something that will begin to change all on its own in time, as I get more comfortable with maintaining my weight and with my hunger patterns. A lot of it does have to do with actually being hungry a lot, since I do work out a lot now, not that I'm an elite athlete of course, but I have recently increased my weight training and that has a direct effect on my hunger level.

However, I admit to some circular logic here because it is also true that I exercise specifically so I can eat more. Yes, I do the exercise for heart health and it does make me feel good afterward and I love the results and I love being stronger, but here it is: I get to eat more because I burned more calories. Somehow that feels wrong - or at least, not quite right, somehow.

I feel that my basic instinct is still, to some extent, to want to eat a LOT of food and to get full. And I am afraid that I would just go nuts and eat way over the amount I need to maintain my current weight if I stopped counting calories and keeping track.

Another insight I have had recently about food and my emotional response to eating. Sometimes, I actually feel sad when it's time to stop eating, whether it's because the food is gone or because I'm full. (Usually the former.) Sometimes, I go to bed thinking about the grand moment in the morning when I am going to get to eat breakfast.

In addition, although I love to get full, it's the actual act of eating and the taste and deliciousness of the food that is at least as, if not more, important than the fullness.