Friday, January 29, 2010

So, If It's Not About the Food, Then What is It About?

So, if it's not about the food, then what is it about?  It's about managing your stress and your emotions.  In a nutshell, that's it.  It's a simple concept... but it's not easy.  If you are like me, you are someone who may know a lot about clean eating and healthy food, and you know what you SHOULD eat, you just don't always do it.  You may even be passionate about reading as much as you can about vitamins and minerals, protein and carbs, calorie counts, the benefits of monounsaturated fats, etc., and you can rattle off the nutritional value of almost any food.  But, if you are like me, you may not always eat the way you know you should.  And, you likely know that managing stress and life is not as easy as it seems.

It's not even that I go overboard  with my eating - well, except for ice cream from time to time - but I find that when I am stressed, unfocused, overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, or anxious that I automatically reach for something sweet or salty to calm me.  Usually I go for the sweets, but sometimes I just need that crunch of something other than a carrot.  Why is that?  I know that some describe these moments "emotional eating", but I think it is just "life eating".  Life eating away at me, at my healthy habits and my self-care.  It drives me nuts.

Fortunately, I now am aware of the pattern.  And, that's the first step.  I realize how I am feeling when I reach for the sweets.  I now know that I am just trying to make myself more comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.  It really is nothing short of a bad habit, and one that I have been finding ways to break.  One of my favorite yoga instructors, Baron Baptiste, says that is one of the goals in  yoga, just as in life, is "finding equanimity in an unbalanced world".  Finding the calm within storm.  Sitting with the discomfort.  You know, I think he is onto something.