We start each day with the resolve that this day will be different. We’ll make healthy food choices and go to the gym. But by the middle of the day we realize we’ve already blown it. Why is success so elusive? Keep reading to find the truth to why we fail.
I get up early on Monday morning. New programs always start on a Monday, right? I have a greek yogurt and fruit parfait for breakfast. I’m feeling good. Today’s the day; I’ve already made one good choice. I drive my daughter to school and come back to do some housework. Another cup of coffee with sweet creamer beckons me but I resist the call. I chew a piece of gum; it tastes sweet and keeps my mouth busy. I have to get out of the kitchen and away from all the food.
Then the phone rings, caller id says it’s my son, away at University. 45 minutes later I hang up. He’s stressed. My stomach twists and flips and my heart hurts for my boy. I remember him as a little boy, when I could fix his pain with a hug. I walk back into the kitchen, make a cup of coffee and add the sweet creamer and then a little bit more. I look in the cupboard. Cookies and chocolate soon melt in my mouth. I savour the taste of my sweetened coffee as I rehash the conversation in my mind. As I take my empty plate and cup to the kitchen I glance at the clock. It’s 10:30 in the morning and I’ve blown it…again, without even realizing it.
Maybe you deal with a toddler who tests the limits all day long or a cranky teenager who dumps on you, or maybe the sting from offhand unkind words from your husband. Before you are even aware of it you are eating something. Cookies or brownies – anything sweet – calms your nerves and helps you cope. Or perhaps chips or crackers, that salty and crunchy taste soothes your hurt feelings.
We fail often at this healthy living thing. We feel defeated, guilty and terribly disappointed. We beat ourselves up.
Why do we fail?
The secret to why we fail so often is…. are you ready for a hard truth?
We choose the food.
Chocolate chip cookies or potato chips don’t force themselves down our throats, girlfriend.
We choose food because it is a fast fix to the pain, hurt, stress or frustration we feel. We often call this emotional eating.
It may have started when you were a child and a cookie soothed a skinned knee. Maybe junk food got you through those stressful late nights of studying. Perhaps ice cream and lots of it helped you cope after a fight with your boyfriend. Somewhere along the way we learned that food provides the fast fix to the pain, hurt, stress or the frustration we feel.
Now it’s a habit. We don’t even think about it.
What we want to do this week is to start identifying when we choose food for emotional reasons. We will call these your triggers. During your day jot down some notes about your eating when it is not related to hunger. Before you go to bed look back over the day and figure out when you ate for emotional reasons. Keep a record for this week. Use your phone or computer or a little notebook.
My record would look like this
event or trigger? -stressful phone call.
result?- ate cookies and chocolate with coffee
You get the idea? Keeping this record will help you see what your triggers are and if there is a pattern.
But that’s not all, girlfriend. A list of what triggered you to eat isn’t very encouraging on it’s own. But it is a very important little step.
Becoming aware of your triggers, the pain, hurt, stress and frustration that caused you to turn to food is vital. When you learn the triggers then you can take some little steps to stop the old habits.
I know relationship stress is one of my triggers. Now I walk away from the cupboard. Most times I go for a walk. I’ve learned that a quick walk helps me cope. I come back relaxed. Food is losing its’ power to comfort me. It feels great!
Next week I’d like to share how faith in Jesus has encouraged me in this climb up the Mountain of Health and Well Being. Girlfriend, He wants to help you too!
Today’s little step: Identify when you are choosing food as a quick fix for pain, hurt, stress or frustration. Then when you become aware of the trigger, stop and get away from food.
Stop by the blog next week to learn more about strategies for dealing with our triggers.