Combating Emotional Eating

As with my therapist, I also meet regularly with my nutritionist, Danielle. This nutritionist is a free benefit that I get through work. I’ve been meeting with her monthly for the past 18 months and she has been instrumental in helping me deal with such things as the GI issues I developed earlier this year. I have learned a great deal from her with regard to “what to eat”, “when to eat” and “how to eat.”

As chronicled in my posts about my LA and NY trips, I have eaten *a lot* this month, and while I had planned for this, I must admit to indulging more excessively than anticipated as a result of the race gone bad.

The fact that I had also become injured, thus losing my main stress reliever, and now having so much extra time on my hands resulted in a lot of emotional eating that was starting to show on the scale.

My last meeting with Danielle was a week ago, 2 days after meeting with my therapist. By then, I was slowly coming out of my funk but I did have to recap to her what had happened in the previous weeks. While she was empathetic, she was adamant about putting together a mental game plan so that I wouldn’t sabotage all the work that I had put towards improving my nutrition over the past few months.

The one thing she admonished me to do was to start tracking my diet again.

At first I told her that it was too difficult to track during the holiday season because a lot of what I’ve been eating wasn’t in the My Fitness Pal food database. But she said that accuracy doesn’t matter right now. The goal of resuming tracking would be to fix my “it doesn’t matter” attitude and get back in control. I needed to “care” again so that I didn’t regret this later.

She said that by tracking what I eat, I would automatically focus in on what I’m eating and hopefully, pay attention to portion control again (my weakness). I was to do this for 7 days, then hopefully continue with it until I get “back on track.” It wasn’t hard to start doing this again. I use MyFitnessPal which is a very user-friendly program (with a free iPhone app) making it easy to start tracking again.

And once I started doing so, I did start to pay attention again – not so much to total calories, but more to nutrient breakdown. Was I getting enough protein, carbs and fat? How much fiber and sugar was I getting? I’ve now been tracking for 5 straight days (I started after I came back from LA) and I have to say, it has already helped me to make wiser choices.

• After having a few more treats, I pawned off shared the rest of those cookies from the holiday cookie exchange party with my family.
• I’ve thrown out all the half-eaten bags of chips.
• I bought fruits and vegetables for the first time in 2 weeks and rediscovered my love for kiwi.
• I’ve said no to second servings.
• I’ve resumed doing non-running workouts.

After just 5 days I already feel better, but next week will be the true test. I’ll be on vacation with even more time on my hands. I’m glad to have started to get back on track now. Hopefully it will help me head into next week better equipped to make balanced choices yet still enjoy the last of the holiday season.

2 Responses to Combating Emotional Eating

  1. Jess says:

    Totally agree with what my sis says – I would’ve said the same thing, with one addition. The whole food log thing for me has taught me to really appreciate what I eat, when I eat, how I eat and its actually given me an odd sense of freedom because I no longer wonder “what if” about how I eat. I know that how I eat today has made a dramatic impact on how I feel, how I look, how I perform. Totally worth the effort to get things under control again…but more importantly, to start caring again. You owe it to yourself to always put yourself first friend, everyday. I’m glad you’re doing this for YOU! 

  2. Jolene says:

    I love her advice to you. Not as much about how many calories but about accountabiility and caring. It really does make you think twice before taking a second helping or eating chips or whatever, if you know you gotta log it! I know it really really REALLY helps me stay in check but also to think too, and not mindlessly eat! I am glad this is helping!

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