You know the moment. You’ve been following your plan, being consistent with your new habits, and something happens. Maybe you’re like I was and have found yourself halfway into the refrigerator searching for something that would soothe what hurts inside.
All our efforts to form really good habits can suddenly evaporate when our “stuff” is stirred up, and then we find ourselves stuffing down our feelings and following it with a food chaser.
We eat because we’re sad, mad, bored, happy, or sometimes just because it’s there. When we’re sad or mad, we’re taught from birth that a cry means something will come into our mouths, and we do get a quick hit of dopamine when we put something in our mouths. It works and we feel better– for a moment, anyway. We get into the habit of stuffing down our feelings, but we still need soothing, so food or drink will do it for this moment. It’s the quick and easy remedy just to get through this moment. Long term, however, it packs our baggage with more junk to deal with, and in the end, reaching for food is just the easy option.
This will take some practice, but to unwind that, stop. When you feel yourself reaching for a soothing bite or sip, stop and breathe for a moment. Much like being in the ocean when you see a wave coming—a feeling or upsetting situation comes barreling toward us and maybe knocks us off our feet—then the wave keeps going toward the shore. We feel the impact, but it passes. If we’ll sit with the upsetting feeling for a moment, it may dissipate faster than we think possible. If the initial surge of feeling passes, you’ve saved yourself some calories. If it doesn’t, then you can make a choice about what you want. Maybe you need to express that feeling, maybe you need a different forum for expressing it, maybe you really need a hug or a walk around the building. Feel what you’re feeling rather than trying to mask it. Masking or ignoring means it will come back and likely bigger and scarier the next time.