Let’s take a quick festive look at EMOTIONAL EATING. That weird devil-may-care “hand to mouth” movement that happens all on its own, without any input from you.

  • You’ve had a right set-to with your teenage daughter about looking at her phone all the time (and forgetting that social networking can actually involve speaking sometimes) and it’s made you rather fretful.
  • The guy(s) you were chatting to online hasn’t returned your wittily flirtatious email… it’s been two days now… nothing for it but to reach for the Chardonnay.
  • Your best friend looked amazing last night at the Bookclub Christmas do. She’s lost loads of weight and it’s… well…. niggling at you.
  • Archie’s gone down a group in Maths.
  • Someone jumped ahead of you in the promotion stakes.
  • The solicitor still hasn’t rung. We should be exchanging today…
  • And that skirt is getting too darned tight.

Food is a necessity. Obviously. But it has also become a treat, and not least at times like Christmas. The supermarkets sell junk food (and I’m not talking Krispy Kreme doughnuts, even normal food has hidden sugar) which lures us in and gives us a temporary high and a respite from our troubles. Stress, delight, agitation, panic….these are all reasons we reach for something we know we shouldn’t. And a nutritionally balanced handful of walnuts doesn’t quite cut it.

Here’s some nuggets which may help:

  • Think. Really, really think. Do I need that third mince-pie (oh, c’mon, they’re only the mini ones...).  Wasn’t the first one so delicious? Are the ones after that as delicious? Or is that hormone Leptin (see yesterday’s blogs) giving you a nudge in the ribs… “Go on, two more won’t hurt”.
  • You’ll feel so proud if you say no.
  • Find a non-related food treat. Instead of stressing over the non-arrival of much wanted email/text/cuddle/smaller body, say to yourself, “I am in charge and I will decide how I reward myself… it is not up to the evil but enticing quality of chocolate”.
  • Do something nice for someone else. Something unexpected. Take the emphasis away from you.
  • Drink water (“Oh puh-lease“). No, I’m serious. Get in charge. Become the boss. Replace each stress-eating occasion with a glass of water.
  • Minimise the amount of processed snacks you have around the house this Christmas. Shut the packets and keep them out of reach. Say to your relatives… “The family bag of Minstrels is in the shed…. help yourselves”.
  • Write down why eating is helping. Dissect what the issue is (“oh, like we’ve all got time for that”). Make time. Grab a calorie is not a game. It’s destructive. The more you do it, the more awful you will feel. We all mess up with food. It’s such a huge part of our lives.

Above all. Don’t beat yourself up. If you have a bad eating day (we all have them), tell yourself it’s over and fast the following day for 8 hours. Water only. Seriously. Once the feeling of deep, deep hunger hits you, you will feel in control, proud and the previous day’s misdemeanours become a distant memory.

I’ve rattled on far too much and I have a pile of presents waiting for labels and wrapping. Have a lovely evening.

Annie x

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