Article Contributed by Karen R. Koenig, MEd, LCSW
Feeling stuck home right now with too much or too little to do and lots of food around can spell trouble. To avoid turning to food when you have the blues or the blahs, practice these three strategies.
- Decide who’s in charge (hint: it’s not the food)
You are 100% in charge of your food choices. No one is twisting your arm to eat foods that, in large quantities, aren’t good for your mental or physical health. Stop making excuses by reminding yourself that you are in command and recognize urges to eat or overeat mindlessly as nothing more than old habits asserting themselves. Decide once and for all to ignore them no matter how often they crop up and they’ll pipe down and ease off.
- Add more pleasure to your life
Food is for nourishment primarily and occasional pleasure. It’s not meant to be a major fun activity (though cooking might be). If you’re looking for pleasure or fun, look elsewhere than food. Eating when you’re not hungry may indicate that you don’t have enough pleasure in your life, enough time quieting your brain and relaxing your body. If you don’t have activities that help you chill or give you a thrill, you’ll need to find some.
- Take care of yourself
Many women put themselves last and use food as self-care—for time to themselves, as a way to relax or as a quick pick me up. If this describes you, you’ll need to stop and think why that is and how to change this pattern. Doing for yourself isn’t selfish; it’s self-care, survival. Strive for an even balance of taking care of self and others. Leave food out of it unless you’re hungry. Fuss over yourself as if you’re the most important person in the world, which you are.
Practice managing your thoughts and eating urges, find new pleasures large and small, and start putting yourself first and you’ll be amazed at how much your eating improves.