How to avoid emotional eating

Earlier today I was seriously craving a pancake with syrup like nobody’s business. It was a very specific craving and nothing else I tried to think of was doing the trick to get my mind off this pancake. Then I remembered something I heard on TV (probably Dr. Oz), where a Dr. was saying that cravings for nutrients and vitamins will make us crave a wide array of similar items like, for instance, anything citrus-y. However,  an emotional craving is usually sudden, and for only one particular item. So you would crave a doughnut if it’s emotional triggers, not steamed broccoli. This emotional kind of craving usually stems from other issues that recently arose, and food is our way of trying to cope. Cravings for carbs in general are because we want the feel-good hormone serotonin to kick in.

I quickly realized this was just because I had dealt with a bunch of idiots on the drive to work, and was likely upset about that, and the pancake wasn’t going to do me any good there anyways. So, I decided to wait until the cafe closed in the downstairs area of where I work to let my opportunity pass. Sure enough, just 30 mins later after eating my salmon pattie and kale & quinoa salad, my craving for that pancake was long gone. I found myself thankful I didn’t  act impulsively and give into every whim my body or mind may send my way.

Further confirmation that I made the right choice was how great I felt just a few more minutes later when I saw coworkers eating their morning snack of Doritos, cokes and rice krispie treats.

Maybe this little story will help you as well when you’re feeling sad, angry or upset and suddenly crave a very specific (very naughty) food. I realize now that planned cheat meals where I really take time to think about what I’ve been missing in my diet, or what fun foods I’d like to try are much more meaningful, and don’t feed that fire of emotional eating and cravings.

Remember, the beast you feed is the one that grows.