In my last article we discussed how overeating keeps you depressed. You might be saying to yourself, “all of that from eating something I shouldn’t? It can’t be because of that!” “maybe my anti-depressant has stopped working… you know that can happen…” “It’s just a tiny cookie!” WRONG! You know how I know? Because I’ve seen what happens when you STOP the cycle. It’s starts spinning in a positive way.
How do you STOP the cycle? In that moment, when you feel a feeling you don’t like, and you all of a sudden feel “hungry,” you know that it’s emotional hunger, not physical hunger. So you wait. You don’t eat anything. If it’s in the middle of the day, identify the feeling, understand it, and then go back to work or doing something productive. Go for a walk or a run. Just HANG ON and don’t eat until your next meal. Then, eat your next meal like normal (no more or less than is healthy). Keeping a food and mood journal where you write down your feelings on one side of the page, and your eating and calories/points, etc., on the other side, is really critical to “getting” what I’m talking about. You’ll see it on paper within days of stopping the cycle. The journal also helps because you can write down what you’re feeling, thereby putting it somewhere else (out of your head). Write down EVERYTHING you eat. Especially if you overeat, write it down. It will help you to see how easily that happens, and identify what you might have been feeling at the time.
So what if it’s late at night? Well if you haven’t been keeping your food journal for that day, go ahead and get it out and write down everything you ate for the day. Total it up and see how many calories you have left, or if you are over your goal (keep it a healthy goal, folks—not restricting crazily). If you’re way under, then you may need to eat something, but make it healthy. But if you are at your goal or over, think about how you are feeling in the moment. Are you really hungry? Nightime can be the hardest time for people with food issues. During the day you are distracted with other things. But then at night, all of the things you are feeling can come crashing in on you. And all of a sudden you feel hungry. If you have already had plenty to eat, then maybe it’s time to go to bed. If you can’t go to bed yet, then whatever you do, stay the heck out of the kitchen. Turn off the T.V., iPad, etc. And read a book or listen to music. Just allow yourself to relax and wind down. Get out your journal and write down what you are feeling. Chances are you may need a page or two—nighttime is tough. And then go to bed.
Pay attention to how you feel in the morning. See how your experience compares with those of others who have tried this. I'll discuss the outcome in the next Healthy Living article.