There's a chocolate chip cookie the size of my head screaming "eat me Kellie" from the cupboard. I bought a container of 6 cookies on Friday from the Whole Foods Bakery and have managed to eat four over the course of the past three days. (Because I'm generous I gave one away). They're vegan, chewy, chocolatey goodness and I love them. Normally I'd just get one cookie from the bakery, work it into my macros and move on. But thank you Covid-19, they currently only come in 6 packs so I "worked them in" (not) for three days! Anyways, I was supposed to eat the remaining cookie last night because I started an exercise and nutrition program today...but I forgot to eat the damn thing! Now all I want is to finish what I started.
Sound familiar? This pure insanity that plays out internally about food is exhausting and crazy making. I don't know about you, but I was raised in a home where people ate their feelings. I honestly didn't even know it was a thing. Like of course if I'm sad a brownie will make me feel better, duh. If we're celebrating what better way to say "hoorah" than to eat a mixing bowl worth of chips and some creamy dip? Take a minute and think about all the ways that you've attached food to emotional experiences. Crazy right?! Now all in all, I'm all about celebrating special occasions with food, BUT whoever said that it had to be crap? It makes way more sense to celebrate with healthy, nourishing foods...
Lord knows why you eat the way you do; we're all different. But I believe there's two main reasons why it's so damn hard to make healthy choices. Reason number one is that American food is highly processed and designed (like in a lab) to tantalize your taste buds and create cravings. Never mind that the advertising attached to this food very intentionally evokes emotion and promises pure ecstasy. My mouth is watering as I think about Magnum Chocolate Ice Cream Bars. That advertising is so effective that I completely forget that I'm lactose intolerant and would be dying of stomach cramps within 30 minutes of eating one. Which brings me to reason number two. Americans choose "comfort food" and over eat because the physical feeling of being stuffed numbs the emotional feelings everyone's trying to avoid. Our society does a terrible job of handling mental health. We're a nation of numbers. No not numbers, numb-ers. Eat, drink, smoke, starve, control, work yourself into the ground, or gossip; but whatever you do, don't feel anything uncomfortable. And for fuck's sake don't you dare talk about your negative emotions and bring everyone else down! Not cool at all. But 100% the culture we're living in.
Luckily, I got to the point where I was sick and tired of feeling lethargic, uncomfortable and detached. I had two choices, keep on numbing with food, booze, cigarettes and gossiping... or figure out why I was on the struggle bus in the first place. Again, I don't have it all figured out (hi, having a stand off with a cookie), but I'm committed to feeling the feels and working every single day to be healthy and whole. Bottom line, if you're struggling with emotional eating, the answer is in the feelings you're trying to avoid. You can try any diet/exercise program you like, but if you don't acknowledge your shit, you aren't going to be successful. We allllll have shit and we allllll find ways of dealing with it for better or worse.
For these reasons I put the cookie in the freezer. I chose to start a nutrition and fitness program because since our move from Texas 4 months ago, I've been out of my usual rhythm and I don't feel well. My joints are achey, I'm not sleeping well, my eczema is flaring and I've got brain fog. Simply put: my habits aren't aligning with my physical and emotional needs. So yeah, not depriving myself of a cookie because I don't think I deserve it or I think it's a "bad food". I'm choosing to say no to eating just to eat... to remind myself that even though the odds are stacked against me, I can still choose to be my healthiest, wholest self. And let's be real, I'll also be eternally grateful for the cookie when I find it in the deep freezer in a month or two while searching for a bag of riced cauliflower!
Thanks for reading :)
There's a song for that: "Stronger", Kelly Clarkson