Thursday, February 18, 2010

Food and You

've been neglecting this blog lately. I'm spending way too much on my other writing. But I have many ideas and lots of content that will be posted soon. In the meantime, a topic near and dear to my heart - emotional eating - and how to tell what your body really needs.

You eat when you're happy. You eat when you're bored. Sometimes you don't know why you're eating at all. Sound familiar? This kind of eating is known as emotional eating and can create weight that your body doesn't need. Here's how to tell when your body really needs food or if you're hungry for something different (like a nap, a hug, a talk with a friend):

Real Hunger
Grows gradually
You'll eat anything
Can wait
You feel good after eating
You feel energized

Emotional Hunger
Hits suddenly
You crave a specific food
No amount of food fills you
You feel guilty after eating
You feel heavier

This afternoon, I ate quite a lot of dark chocolate with straight peanut butter. Yes, I was definitely craving that particular delightful combination and yes, I had already had a full lunch and didn't really "need" the extra fat and calories. But, I justified the treat by making the experience really mindful and really enjoyable. I didn't stand up and dip straight into the jar. I sat at the table and savored each bite. In all honesty, I only planned to have one square and I probably would have been satisfied with one square. But today is a three square day and I think it's OK because I really, really loved the heck out of those three squares.

Looking at the checklist above, I can say that yes, I did crave the chocolate AND the PB and that yes, it did fill me up (how could it not? we're talking tablespoons of straight fat here!). I don't feel guilty and I feel a little fuller than I'd like but now I know that two squares - maybe without the PB next time - would be a good bet.

It's always revealing to peel back the layers of our behaviors. This was a great exercise for me. I hope you find some value in it too.

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