Written by Blake “The Silverback Viking” Gauthier (@thesilverbackviking & youtube )
“I had such horrible day today; I’m going to order a pizza and get some beer. OH! Some chicken wings too!!! That’ll perk me up.”“OMG!!! I can’t believe she broke up with me to date him! I’m getting a cheesecake!”“I GOT THE PROMOTION! We’re going out for dinner to celebrate!!!!”
Do you see the common denominator? It didn’t matter if it was good, if it was bad or if I was absolutely stuffed. No matter what it was my go-to was food and it was an absolutely vicious cycle because the more I ate the fatter I became; the fatter I became the lower my self-esteem got. So, I’d turn to food to feel better, but the food wouldn’t make me feel better; I’d have that sudden sugar rush, that small hit of instant gratification by eating something ooey and gooey, swimming in chocolate. Yet inevitably, the guilt of eating junk would overtake the small bit of joy the food had brought me. Triggering the cycle all over again.
I had to find some way to end this cycle before it ended me. I had to find a way to identify what was triggering this behavior before it was too late. A quick fix for me was a simple question: “Blake, are you really hungry or are you just bored?”
If the answer was that I was actually hungry my meal prep would come into play. I make sure that I have healthy foods, my lean proteins and complex carbs cooked and ready so they’re just as easy to grab as a sweet treat would be. Unlike the sweet treats, by grabbing the food from my meal plan I would be helping myself towards my goal instead of being my own worst enemy.
If it is boredom, fight the boredom. Go for a walk, call a friend, play with your dog, over throw a country, burn down your ex’s house. No… no… not the last two. However, do find something to do that will keep you occupied that is healthy and is not breaking the law.
Something else I would notice was the attitude of “I have stuck to my meal plan for three days without any cheats, I’ve earned this snack” then once the snack was eaten, I would remember that it hadn’t been three days or however long it was. That’s where a food journal comes into play.
Write down everything you eat including how much and at what time. You would be amazed at the things you eat and don’t actually remember eating. Once you are on a set meal plan then only write down the instances that you stray off of your meal plan.
Most importantly: if you do fall off the wagon do not beat yourself up. Instead, use it as a learning opportunity. Examine it; figure out what triggered the fall and determine what you can do in the future to prevent another fall from happening. Most importantly once you are done examining and making your notes move on. Do not dwell on it; dwelling on it can cause unneeded stress and may trigger another episode.
Emotional eating is not an easy thing to overcome but with work you can beat it. Work on identifying your triggers, find healthy replacements and be honest with yourself. Nothing comes easy and changing your life will not happen overnight but it can happen with time, dedication and persistence. Your dreams only work if you do!