And then last Friday happened…
Last week was a crazy week at work. I had 2 consecutive 14 hour work days paired with a few 12 hour days as we worked to construct the 2014 expense budget for my community. I have direct oversight for the largest chunk of the budget so it has been a somewhat stressful process as I learn a whole new budgeting system. Despite the long days I was pretty well prepared early on with healthy foods to pack for lunch and snacks, I was very proud of myself for managing to stay strong and stick with my eating plan, running and tracking my calories.
But then Friday happened…, the day after I made my last post, something pretty bad happened at work, something that really no one could have prevented, but as the person where the buck stops it was pretty bad. When I got the first phone call at 6:30 am I had 2 thoughts running through my head – what next steps do we need to take in the way of prevention and reporting and how would my mom and sister react if this had happened to my Grandma. As the day went on and I dealt with the incident and of course a million other mundane things that needed to be tended, too I broke – I had a choice to make at lunch time and I didn’t make the best choice. I fell off the clean eating bandwagon and dove head first into the made from scratch ranch dressing that our kitchen makes. I just knew that the comforting things that I ate for lunch would make things better, they would solve my problems, but they didn’t. In fact all that really happened is my stomach didn’t feel so good afterward and my headache didn’t go away. Food didn’t fix the problem.
I am an emotional eater – I eat to fill a need, but more often than not the need is not really about physical hunger. One of my favorite tools from Weight Watchers is asking yourself what am I hungry for before eating. I’ve struggled for years with the execution of this tool, but when I practice it and focus on eating for fuel and not for comfort I feel more in control. I also have a better understanding of the need that I am trying to fill. Recently a friend posted something on Facebook about a speaker who was talking about the holes in our lives. “The emptiness we try to fill up with sports or accomplishments or beer or TV [or Food]. He said it’s a God-shaped hole and the only thing that’s going to completely fill it, so there’s no open space left around the edges, is God.” For me this really rings true I try to fill this hole with food, or shopping, or Facebook or booze or…So normally I would have stopped counting my calories, made an even worse decision for dinner and then blown the whole weekend only to wake up Monday morning to start all over again.
I am happy to report that this time has been different, it was one meal – and honestly my choices weren’t really that bad. I tracked my calories and made a better choice at dinner. I continued to count my calories on Saturday, even my “splurges,” and manged to stay within my total calorie count for the week. I didn’t let that one meal become the beginning of the end which I so frequently do.
I am still packing my lunches and snacks and still making better decisions about the food I eat. I am taking the time bake several chicken breasts to keep on hand and I love the new container sets fom Rubbermade for your lunch box. I’ve been recreating Starbuck’s Chicken and Humus bento box on my own this week!
I can already tell a difference in the way I feel and this week my running has been much better. Yes, making healthy choices and being prepared can be a challenge, but for me the little bit of extra effort will have big payouts at the end.
So how do you handle emotional eating? Do you ever find yourself eating because you’re tired, bored, sad, or stressed?