I was reading the National Public Radio food and nutrition site, The Salt, and came across this interesting bit of information: When we’re feeling strong emotions, we may lose our ability to sense/experience the fat in food. To me, that says we’re even more likely, when participating in emotional eating, to keep eating. Why? Well, if you’re eating for the creamy mouthfeel of fat (butter, cream, etc.), and you don’t get that payoff, you’re going to keep right on going until you get your reward. Right? And there’s the bottom of the container, and the bad feelings made worse. Talk about insult to injury!
According to the article, studies show that “people who are mildly depressed and who have elevated body weight may have lower sensitivity to fat.” Are we heavier because we don’t have a sensitivity to fat, or does being heavier desensitize us to it? Regardless of where the cart is in relation to the Clydesdale, this is another reason why emotional eating is best avoided.
So what to do when those feelings come (and we’re human, so they will come)? How’s your anchor? Do you have the object or mantra or memory that will help you summon the good feelings you’ve had before? What about your spaces? Are your good food choices the easiest for you to make? If there’s a tub of ice cream, cannister of cake frosting, or leftover carton of cheese grits within reach, you may be doubly likely to tear through it without thinking twice. How can you hold off that emotional caveman until your reasoning mind has a chance to make an informed choice? You need to know this before your emotions take hold!
Have your comfort. And have your food. But think about keeping the two separate… especially when the comfort you want from food might not even come!