Emotional Eating

I have a confession: I am an overeater with a passion for sugary treats, bread and pasta. I’ve been this way since I was a boy enjoying too many cookies, too big a sandwich and a full plate (or two) of spaghetti – just like my dad.

Lately, though, I’ve acknowledged that what triggers my overeating is pent up feelings. When I don’t express them, my pattern is to search out a snack to smooth out the thoughts and emotions that make me feel confused, uncomfortable, etc. It’s a pattern many Americans share with food but also with alcohol, drugs, shopping, work, etc.

But I’ve had enough!

As of yesterday, I am committing to 35 days of no sugar, bread or pasta. This is a trial period which I will tweak and extend if it feels right to 3 months, then 6, then to a year. I have done that successfully with alcohol, shopping, energy drinks and social media.

Sugar, of course, is a particularly strong foe. It’s omnipresent, tied to everyday eating and celebrations and it’s found in drinks, dressings spreads and condiments, to name a few. But for me the real trick is going to be to deal with the emotional pattern that results in “I don’t want to deal with THAT or I AM BORED. I want food, instead.”

To help, I’m using an app designed by an MIT professor called stikk.com. This is the perfect tool to create accountability for any commitment. I’ve used it previously and love the design of it. If you want to reach a goal, I suggest giving it a whirl.

My favorite parts of Stikk are two: 1) you pick supporters to cheer you on and 2) you can pick a charity or anti-charity to donate money to if you fail. You can even pick a Referee, if you choose. In my case, I chose a few friends from another accountability group as supporters and a Trump Super PAC to give $175 to if I plotz. (I’ll leave it to your imagination if that’s a pro or anti-charitable cause for me!)

Today is my second day and I’ve already faced my first test. A bunch of emotions came up that I wasn’t acknowledging and BOOM I wanted ccokies, bread and cheese or something equally comforting. Luckily, I caught myself, wrote to one of my Stikk supporters, cut up some fruit and veggies and talked to Beth. Then, I decided to write this post.

Analyzing my thoughts and feelings up to the trigger point, there were about 10 things I did not express from 12pm – 5pm. Wow! Obviously, food isn’t the problem. It’s a faulty antidote, a symptom and a stopgap measure.

Hey, I can quit stuff, but the real root of my problem, as I mentioned above, is to learn how to express myself rather than isolate. I can do that. I know how. I’m doing it right now!

Lastly, this is not about willpower alone. For me, it has to be spiritual, positive and life-affirming for it to work. So, my plan is to use my Higher Power, too.

Thanks for listening.

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