In past generations like the depression, where food was scarce, the idea of wasting food was pretty horrible. And thus a generation of children were raised to ‘finish what’s on your plate.’ And then another generation. And another.
I remember during the 80’s when the famine in Ethiopia and Bob Geldoff’s feed the world campaign were all over the news, millions of children who didn’t want to finish their vegetables were told “there are starving kids in Africa” and the standard kid reply was “send it to them, then.”
Who remembers having to sit at the table until their plate was clean? (I became an expert at hiding squashed up peas under my knife and fork). Who has ever reached for food during a time of emotional crisis? Who has ever drowned their sorrows in ice cream with peanut butter and Nutella on it? Just me? Ok, moving on then.
My point is, there are many reasons why people eat. Emotions and eating are bound together pretty tightly for a lot of people. If we could break some of the emotional habits we have associated with food, then our lives (and diets) would be a whole lot better. But food is tied up with so many emotion provoking actions. We associate food with celebration, we associate it with rewarding ourselves, we associate it with commiserating bad news or a loss. And some of us even associate it with shame. The shame one is the worst one. You eat something you said you wouldn’t, you feel bad, you cheer yourself up with even more unhealthy food, and the cycle just repeats. It’s a vicious circle, and it’s very hard to stop.
I think half the battle with emotional eating is to recognise your trigger. The hard part is not pulling that trigger. Today was a pretty emotional day for me, for a variety of reasons, but I am proud to say that I recognised my triggers, and somehow I managed to avoid the mistakes of my past. The past that got me to this point:
There are many ways to avoid the emotional traps of eating, but the first is to recognise that we have them. Then we have to work out what to do when we sense a trigger moment. For me, it’s been looking at horrendous photos like the one just up there, and asking myself one question….. is it worth it? Is it worth the self loathing and the shame and the awful feeling of not being ‘most people’? Like I felt the day I couldn’t get that damn t shirt on. Is it worth being disappointed in my self, once again?
Sometimes you just have to stop making excuses, prepare yourself for some changes, and then put your head down, and your ample ass up, and work for it ! This is probably the best text msg I have ever received (apart from the one from the Nigerian Prince). This was from Jamie, my awesome personal trainer. He sent it the morning after my first proper PT session.
Why is it so good to read this text? Because it reminds me that I didn’t give up, not once during that whole session. I now know what mountain climbs are, and to put it simply, I hate their breathing guts… but I did them. Every single one of them… three times over !! I love this text message because it reminds me that I didn’t quit. I didn’t make an excuse and I didn’t let my fear get in the way !!