You're at a party. You feel bored or awkward. So you decide to pour lime green acid on the floor.
And sure, you have solved the problem. You probably don't feel bored or upset that you are bad at small talk anymore.
But on the other hand, you just poured lime green acid on the floor.
Perhaps there could have been a better way?
I coach women who are frustrated with their eating -- so I totally understand that it's often easier to realize your eating has nothing to do with nourishing your body in retrospect, but not at the time that you are sticking that food in your mouth. So, for the next time you're tempted to pull out your food-swiss-army-knife (I just knew that eating cookies would help me to fix how exhausted I felt!), I've created a list of 11 problems for which food is just not the optimal solution:
11 things that you shouldn't use food to solve:
1. You don't want to do what you have to do next. Whether you are about to go to work, go to another meeting, pick up your kids, or knock another item off of your to-do list, you don't feel like doing it.
2. You feel frustrated/angry/anxious/sad/excited about the activity you just finished, or about the activity that is happening now. Feelings--whether happy, sad, or somewhere in between--can be more intense than we realize.
3. You are bored and want something fun. And let's face it, eating food is a party for your tongue.
4. YOU ARE EXHAUSTED. At least 50% of the people I speak with are going through this one.
5. You want to connect with another person. And part of the way we connect with other people is by doing the same thing as them; if they eat lunch, we want to eat lunch, too.
6. You are having a ton of fun (at a restaurant, at a party, out with friends), and don't want to have to pay attention to your body. Eating becomes just another activity that is lost in the swirl of the event. You are talking, laughing, eating, listening to music...why does eating have anything to do with hunger and fullness?
7. You feel awkward at a social event--a party, dinner, gathering--and want something to do with your hands. Or maybe you want to look busy because you aren't exactly talking with anyone right now. Awkward.
10. You are being pressured to eat by a friend or loved one. Because if you just give into the peer pressure, it's not like they will be pressuring you about other things later...
11. You are just crazy busy. You have clients to serve, children who need breakfast and to be signed up for summer camp, errands to run, laundry to do. There is no time to listen to your body.
How do you stop using food to solve these problems? Well, here's one way to start, and it is my challenge for you this week:
1. Sit down in a quiet space, with paper and pen.
2. Think of a time recently when you ate when you weren't hungry.
If you really analyze it, what problem do you think you were using food to solve? Could there have been a non-food way to deal with that issue?
I'd love to hear what you find in the comments below!
Are you used to "having it together" in your life, but your eating + weight is the little piece that's not going right? Check out Katie's free "What's Your Eating Style" ebook -- a 22-page ebook that lets you identify your eating archetype, and offers detailed, personalized practices to try TODAY.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.