Are you someone, or do you know someone who has a rather stressed relationship with food? Are you someone, or do you know someone that uses food to deal with stressful situations? And not even realize it??
This could have happened to most of us as a one-off thing – as children, during growing up years, do we recollect a time when we were given food to comfort us? Or as young adults, we would have resorted to some kinda ‘comfort food’ to comfort ourselves at some point to tide over a stressful situation. But what if it becomes a regular thing with us?
Given all the confusion there is around food nowadays, there are many many women who are perpetually stressed over what to eat.
Oh, this fruit? Now?? It causes me cold.
Oh, that vegetable causes me gas.
No, I can’t be eating this rice – of all things – and ruin my sleep with guilt.
And they go back to square #1 – just WHAT do I eat?
As if this were not enough, there are twice as many more that eat – because they are stressed.
Oh! Diet be damned; I am feeling LOW today. One small samosa cannot hurt.
Oh, it’s my hard-earned bonus day, my dear! What’s a celebration without some chocolate!
After feeling great about the treat only momentarily, they feel guilty again, aka ‘stressed,’ and reach for that chocolate all over again.
Aparna is a phenomenally brilliant finance professional. She is a marathon runner and long-distance cyclist – a thriver in every sense of the word. The kind of diligence it all takes to balance grueling workouts with her high-power position at work and run one’s home is not for the ordinary. She wanted to examine her behavior around matters of food and intuitively joined the program.
There have been many many success stories that came from the simple act of keeping a Food Journal. Probably hers is the most remarkable of them all. Every step was a revelation of sorts for her.
The results, in this case, were more qualitative by nature. She had wholly gotten a handle over her emotional eating, even by the second week of the program. She was no more asking google about ‘how to eat healthy.’ Or checking for ‘what happens if I ate blah blah and blah’. She’s able to make sound decisions around food suit her sporty lifestyle. She often stops by to say how empowered she feels about herself. And how she’s respectful of the food and her body.
Aparna speaks for me when she says, Mind Your Gap is a fantastic program for someone who is mature and ready to put in the work. That’s true. This is not for people who desire overnight results MINUS any self-reflection or size zero body stats!
What’s your takeaway from this story?
May your #1 lesson be this: Emotional eating in today’s world is not so much about your emotional brokenness and/or emotional highs and lows – it’s about the environment.
We all live in a world where our food environment has been rigged. Unfortunately for us, while it serves some vested interests, it works entirely against us. And within this environment, it doesn’t take a lot of stress to make emotional eaters out of the best of us!
Let me illustrate what I mean by this.
When a food vendor grates an extra block of cheese onto your sandwich (or even a dosa these days!), it helps him and his shop gain popularity – with your upvotes – for his tasty food. How is it serving you or your health beyond those few minutes of pleasure while eating that? Hmm .. highly questionable. Contrarily, are you drawn to his shop? And his cheese-laden sandwich again and again? Very likely! What if every vendor and food maker in the world uses food as a bait to get your business? Do you see the point? Willpower doesn’t take you anywhere given vice-like grip your food wields over you.
When you finally internalize this fact, you’ll take notice of what you put in your mouth. Until then, you are loyally serving somebody’s else’s interest and not even realizing how dearly it costs you.
Fact: Neither Aparna nor I have a compulsion to sharing this story with the world. Yet, Aparna and I both realize the power of stories like these, upon which the takeaways stand. It’s her utter purity of intention to reach someone that may be in a similar situation, which inspires me to let you in on some highlights of this journey.
Request: Please remember, people mentioned in this story are real people in flesh and blood, with a beating heart and feelings. Be gentle with us. Questions and comments are excellent, so long as they are respectful.
Disclaimer: This is no promise of results. Outcomes depend on any number of factors, and each person and situation is unique.