Stop Emotional Eating And How I Got My Head Out Of My Pantry At Night
One of the first comments people say to me when they find out I work at home is, “Oh wow...if I worked at home i would just eat all day and get totally fat!”
I usually just kinda don’t say much and do one of those awkwards laughs, but silently wonder to myself why so many lovely people are scared of their kitchen.
Personally, working at home is like the Universe handed me heaven in a career. I adore being able to wake up and cuddle my dog under a million soft blankets for as long as I want while I check my morning emails. I love walking outside while I have conference calls and get my morning coffee without having to strategically avoid coworkers until I am well caffeinated. Honestly, working at home is a huge stress relief compared to rushing to a corporate office setting!
As far as the kitchen goes...If you know me, then you know I am an absolute food fanatic I am--in the healthiest way of course! I adore being able to make my own food and eat when I am hungry, not worrying about timing or other people. When I eat a meal during a work day, it’s usually just me and my dog having a one sided conversation and me pretending that she is genuinely interested in my life rather than the food on my plate...who doesn’t love being listened to uninterrupted?!
Even though there are all sorts of aspects to being at home with my beloved kitchen all day everyday, it comes with a territory. I realize that we all have those times when we can’t stop thinking about that yummy granola we have in the cupboard or the chocolate in the freezer and so without a doubt we find ourselves with our faces stuffed with all the food and thinking that ‘if I eat it all now it won’t be there later to eat, so I am actually doing myself a favor, right?’ Wrong.
Other times, which I have been guilty of too, we find ourselves wandering over to the kitchen and opening the fridge to just stare at everything in it for literally 2 minutes straight... you know you’ve done it too! Then you close the fridge and go to the pantry and do the same thing until you just pick something out and eat it not because your hungry, but just because.
Yes, all of this is very real but I want to emphasize some ways working from home has made me a more conscious eater and less stressed about food in general. Here is one of my most valuable tips to finding freedom from your kitchen woes.
Recognize, Feel and Forgive
A lot of people get hung up with the ‘ I can’t stop thinking about the food in the pantry’ mindset because they have trigger foods in the house. I consider trigger foods as items that you feel guilty about eating, and when they are around you most likely going to eat the whole thing.
I get it. It is scary to feel like you can’t control yourself especially when it is because of a cookie! I too have triggers and have been down this road. In college I lived off campus and so I would go to the grocery store on a Sunday and usually think it was alright to buy myself one treat per week. In my mind this seemed like a good solution to being able to eat treats in moderation. But more often than not I would find that my treat would be gone by Tuesday night or maybe Wednesday leaving me feeling guilty and wanting to get more treats for the week.
So how did I break the cycle? Now, I don’t recommend diets or restricting in any way. But for me, I had to get really honest with myself about this habit and give myself an attitude adjustment. I recognized in myself that I had a pattern of going to the store, buying the treat, coming home and justifying myself eating the whole thing. I got really honest about the fact that this made me feel guilty and full of shame. And then comes the most important step. I gave myself props for recognizing my pattern and asked myself forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not always something that comes easily towards other people we feel have wronged us, so how are you supposed to forgive yourself? In all honesty, if you find that you have a hard time forgiving yourself know that you are not alone. But the first step to letting yourself off the hook is to be willing to do so, and trusting that a power greater than you will lead the way and support you lovingly.
The Recognize, Feel and Forgive strategy is not a instant change kind of a deal, but it is a valuable life tool that is maintainable and allows for you to kick that guilt and shame to the curbside for good. For me, what happened was that over a few weeks of recognizing my pattern, sitting with the feelings that come up and allowing myself forgiveness, I found that when I would go to the store I wouldn’t even have the desire to get that box of gluten-free cookies or chocolate covered almonds.
If I had kept going to the store and told myself I am NOT going to eat treats anymore I would have created a restrictive mentality and gained momentum in punishing myself when I did give in to the occasional treat. Plus, I know I would not have been able to stop thinking about wanting something sugary. But because I did not restrict myself, I would end up going to the store and looking at the sweets isle and thinking “I love myself too much to buy this”.
And that is the magic moment. When your mind switches from a restriction to a self love perspective is when you take a step towards the right direction. And that my dear is exactly what you deserve--love for yourself, and confidence in your choices.