Yesterday morning I had some good news in a phone call from Devin about a job offer he had received. At the time he called me, my first thought was ‘EAT SOMETHING!’ I happened to be walking down the main shopping street in a ritzy small town near San Francisco and it suddenly it was as if all my senses went out of focus and the only shops I could see were restaurants and stores offering food items. Bagels! Donuts! Candy!
Fortunately, it was a beautiful day, I was not in a rush to be anywhere, I had the dog with me, and soon enough I was distracted and my Ďeat attackí went away. And later, as I got back to my car I realized that I was not only not hungry, I was still feeling rather full from a big breakfast.
Iíve long known that fear, anxiety and anger can trigger eating. But I think if I can look a little closer it might be that any strongly felt emotional reaction can trigger the eating response, whether a positive or a negative feeling. It makes sense Ė if the act of eating is a guaranteed momentary boost, it can take the edge off of bad feelings and give reinforcement to good feelings. Eating seems to cover all the bases!
While I know that becoming overweight for any person is merely a mathematical reflection of calories consumed minus calories expended, I feel there can be a variety of causes for that equation to go out of balance. In my case, it seems that the two most significant factors are eating as an emotional activity and eating well past the point of satiety.
I suppose this isnít exactly earth-shattering news. In fact I have written about this before. But when I ponder these two factors that lead me to overeat, I realize that neither of them is something that is permanenty curable, and that this is likely to be a life-long work in progress.
When I got home last night, I gave Devin a humorous card and a dozen roses. It was my way of staying in touch with the joy and excitement, while not attaching those things to food. Iím sure there will be celebratory lunches and dinners over this, but thatís for him to deal with. And I felt so wonderful when I looked over my food journal for the day and saw such healthy, affirming choices. It felt almost good enough to make me eat.