Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Eating to feel

Working from home can make weight loss and maintenance quite difficult. The kitchen is right there, and it is oh, so easy to make a cup of coffee and get out the biscuit box whenever I feel. Yes, that is the way I intended to write that last sentence.

I used to think that I wasn't an emotional eater, but, hey, it turns out I am! And we all seem to have a similar comfort attachment to food. As soon as we feel bored, lonely, unhappy, worried, stressed, tired, dissatisfied, disappointed or overworked - I bet you can add another dozen adjectives to this list, some even positive! - we tend to comfort or reward ourselves with food (and/or alcohol). And I'm not talking sensible portions of good, nutritious food. It's a case of "what can I eat to feel better?"

While eating for comfort may make us feel better - carbohydrates are naturally calming - the feeling is very temporary, and soon swamped out by other feelings... of guilt.

So we need to take control. We always have a choice. We can choose to eat a whole bar of chocolate / bag of pretzels / litre of ice cream. Or we can make a more responsible choice. Instead of indulging in empty calories and lots of fats - which we'll regret later - we can clean or tidy something. At home there is always some little job that needs doing, and even at the office we can tidy and reorganise desk drawers, or make a to-do list. Take a walk, even if it is only to the bathroom. Any distraction like these will improve our mood, and give a sense of achievement. (As long as we then don't then congratulate ourselves with food for a job well done!) If you must eat, have a piece of fresh fruit.

Objectivity helps, too. Mentally take a step back from the situation. Will it (the situation) really matter in a week's time? a year? Stretch. Really stretch. Breathe deeply and slowly.

Now, back to work.

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