Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Programmed Overeating

A dear friend confessed that although she’s been watching her weight and cutting calories, a rash of unexpected stressful situations at her job has pushed her right into the arms of her refrigerator. She has thrown any caution she might have had to the wind, eating whatever she wanted for about the last two weeks.

My friend is not alone. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Since childhood, food has been our comforter, our solace, our friend. In a sea of overwhelming obstacles: bad news, frustrating tasks, difficulties with co-workers, it is food that is our life preserver. The one thing we can depend on. At least that’s how most of us have been programmed. Good food makes it all better. Ergo, more food makes it more better!

But like an alcoholic with an eviction notice in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other, the bottle is only going to make things worse. As foodaholics, overeating will only give us more about which to be upset.

Part of what makes us feel overwhelmed sometimes is feeling powerless. We’re not in control of our situation, so we’ll do something we can control, (eat), even if we do too much of it. Ironically, in the end, the food ends up controlling us, and we’re powerless again. At least that's how it feels. In reality, don’t we actually control what we put into our mouths? That’s our hand on the end of our arm that has hold of that fork or Twinkie. We DO have power. Instead of allowing our emotions to control our actions, (because so much of this isn’t about the emptiness in our stomachs), let us acknowledge our hands have the power. Sort of like tying wood splints to our elbows; if we don’t put our hands to our mouths too often, we won’t overeat! Wouldn’t you rather feel good about yourself and what you are able to accomplish, than feeling guilty for what you’re not?

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