This weekend likely will bring many reminders of 9/11–on TV, in the newspaper, online. Remembering a grave event, particularly if you have a personal connection to it, can bring up difficult emotions. The same is true of other stressful situations, such as moving, relationship struggles, or challenges at work.
Whether you use this weekend as a time to decompress or as an opportunity to get things done, being mindful of your feelings will help you cope with them in a way that’s healthy and that won’t undermine your diet. One thing to watch out for is the urge to overeat. By recognizing it, you give yourself the chance to choose a better method of coping with the root cause.
Causes of Overeating
- Stuffing Emotions
Sometimes when we’re stressed or sad, we eat to stuff our emotions down. We try to quiet uncomfortable emotions with food. Food can take the focus off of anger, pain, fear, anxiety, and a host of other emotions we’d sometimes rather not feel–but the distraction is only temporary and brings with it the inevitable guilt that comes with overeating.
- Childhood Habits
Many of us have comforting childhood memories that revolve around food. Whether your parents used to comfort you with an ice cream cone, or make your favorite meal to help ease the pain of a breakup, or take you out to eat as a reward for good grades, you’d probably be in the vast minority if you didn’t develop some emotionally-based attachments to food while growing up. When in times of stress, few things can be as powerfully comforting or rewarding as your favorite food.
- Nervous Energy
When stressed or anxious, many of us become “orally fidgety.” Often, out of nervousness or boredom, we will just munch on chips or drink soda to give our mouths something to do.
Healthier Ways to Cope
- Talk to a Friend
Social support can go a long way toward helping you process your feelings, gain support, and move on. (Just don’t meet your friend at The Cheesecake Factory!)
- Try Journaling
Processing one’s feelings in a journal has been found to have many health benefits beyond mere stress management. When you feel like reaching for unhealthy food, reach for a pen instead.
Getting your body moving is a great way to blow off steam and to get your endorphins going. Come take a class at Lucille Roberts and burn off all that nervous energy! (Not a member of our gyms? Try us out for free!)
Have a safe, healthy weekend!
By Ilise Weinberg, Manager at Lucille Roberts Flushing