Skinny Daily Post


It trips me up every time! I just returned from an overnight in a different city. It was ME time – a couple of friends, an art exhibit, a comfortable hotel. I was relaxed and happy. Eating was GREAT – enjoyed every mouthful, didn’t overeat, didn’t snack, and even had a treat or two. The miles of walking compensated.

And then I came home. Mom was disoriented, but at least she’d eaten. The kitchen wasn’t too trashed. But I felt that emotional ‘click,’ and it wasn’t that good one that sets us off into productive action. It was that ‘stress time’ click. And it started: a mouthful here, a bit of cheese, a couple of crackers. When this situation became apparent [and this time it only took about 15 minutes!], I made a big mug of tea and RAN to my computer to do some surfing.

The reason I’m telling you this is because we ALL have those emotional ‘clicks.’ It could be the children fighting, your boss making ridiculous demands, or something your spouse has done. Another relative might start talking with that certain whine that means you’re going to be hit up for some project or other.

Whatever it is, recognizing it as something that automatically sets you off is the biggest step in developing a management-without-food strategy. It would have been SO easy for me to just keep munching, but that’s not the answer.

Tea, coffee, whistling, turning up some music, going outside, deep breathing, whatever it is, plan it now, before you need it. Keep in your mental ‘pocket’ so that it’s handy.

3 thoughts on “That emotional light switch

  1. Greta says:

    I have heard that cravings only last for 5 minutes. While feeling a craving it’s hard to believe that it only lasts 5 minutes because it seems that you have always wanted “it” and always will want “it”. I am pretty good distracting myself while at home. I can have a hot beverage, take a shower, do laundry, scrub a sink, read a book. The worst emotional situation I have been in all year was visiting my family recently with Dad in the hospital doing poorly. Meanwhile my sister who also responds to stress with food brought all kinds of munchies into the house of the type that I do NOT want to eat. So I discovered yet another strategy for “not” eating junk food and that is to substitute something healthier like an apple. It is still eating in response to stress which maybe should not be reinforced but it’s better than cookies, etc.

  2. Sara says:

    I have had some (read tons of) stress lately too. I did not realize that I was having a problem until I was in bed with a bag of baked tortilla chips and fresh salsa. I guess the food was not that bad, but the time and place were way wrong. My husband had planned on staying downstairs to watch a movie, but then he comes in saying he was going to bed too. (And here I am buried in my snacks) I got so angry with him. Then I realized that I was angry with myself because of what I was doing. I got up and put all of my snacks away. Then I had to come back to bed and explain why I stormed out.

    I am a lot more conscious of what, where, and when I eat. It clicks much faster now. I reach for the stuff and I think “Would I be ashamed if my husband saw me eating this?”

  3. Martha says:

    aaaaahhhhhhhhhhh I could go on and an on and never get anywhere. This “switch” flipped a switch. I need to get the coping in place but somehow coping never feels as good as stuffing myself. That is, until the minute the food stops tasting good and the self-punishment sets in.

    Figure the binge lasts an hour, two … wouldn’t it be worth it to writhe in the pain and brutal awkwardness of “coping” for two hours and then emerge at the end without the 24+ hours of remorse and self-punishment? WOULDN’T IT????

    “Coping” seems to imply that the alternative will feel as good or even better than the primary — the binge. But it doesn’t. It can’t erase the pain that’s causing the binge in the first place. (at least at the beginning I assume — I’ve never gotten past beginning “cope” to making “cope” a habit). I can’t expect a cup of tea to feel as good as an all you can eat buffet of chocolate caramel nut cakes with raisins.

    But when I’ve licked every last buffet crumb off the floor, tea feels like salvation. It is the great purifier.

    So, I need to skip the self-flaggelation and go straight to redemption … “Coping” doesn’t work if I expect it to be the end state. Coping will only work (for me) as an admittedly flawed means of transition to habits that are purifying on their own. Coping will only work if I expect it to be unsatisfactory … in the short term.

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