Monday, March 23, 2009
Intuitive Eating Chapter 10
Oh boy, my favorite chapter...Coping With Your Emotions Without Using Food. This the the hardest part of intuitive eating for me, but reading Rethinking Thin helped me understand something that made me feel a little better. People who are over weight don't use food to cope with their emotions any more than thin people do. Science has proven this. It was good to learn that this was true. People everywhere use food to cope with life, but even so, even if you're fat or thin, using food as a coping strategy will sabotage your ability to eat intuitively, so it's something that needs to be addressed.
Something that I think most diets don't keep in mind is the fact the food has a huge emotional component to it and this is not something that can be escaped. Eating can be, and usually is an emotionally laden experience. We use food for all sorts of reasons and food has many functions in our society that have almost nothing to do with hunger or nutrition. We use food to celebrate happy occasions, to show love to family and friends, as tradition, to socialize, to reward ourselves or others, as a hobby (cooking, baking), as entertainment....and the list could go on. Like I said, diets don't take this into account and this is part of the reason why diets fail and are not usually adopted as a way of life.
Here's a list (from the chapter) of emotional reasons we eat:
Boredom and Procrastination
Bribery and Reward
Frustration, Anger, Rage
As a way of connecting to others
Loosening the reins on a controlled life
I've eaten for every reason on this list. Some of them good, some not so good and some more than others. I can especially relate to eating out of boredom or stress, and having a need to connect to others. I know I eat the most when I feel like I have no freedom to do what is stimulating or fullfilling to me. When I feel this way I really crave those cookies! What are some emotional reasons you eat?
I'm facing the fact that eating for emotional reasons may never really completely end in my life, but I can learn (and have learned) to do it less often. As a result I'm also forced to deal with my stress, boredom, and other emotions in a better way (one good side effect of eating intuitively).
Even though I still eat for emotional reason, I do it much less than I used to and when I do I am very aware of what I'm doing. (I wasn't in the past) When I realize that I'm eating and not hungry, I recognize that I'm doing it and ask myself why. Then I try to think of other ways to deal. Sometimes I can't always find a healthier way to deal so I choose to keep eating, but just recognizing that I'm eating to cope results in much less over eating in the moment and in the future. Hopefully, with more practice, this will get easier for me.
How do you guys feel about Chapter 10?