Okay, this thread has NOTHING to do with healthy nutrition & healthy eating. It's more to do with the choices that we make, & WHY & HOW we make them regarding what we eat.
This past few months, I've been working on building several houses with a number of construction workers on site. Every lunchtime, several of the workers (around 75%) eat large amounts of junk food.
2 litre bottles of fizzy juice
fish & chips from the local fish & chip shop
In the morning's, it's a trip to the local bakers where lots of pies, sausage rolls cakes are bought. & then after work, it's another trip to the local fish & chip shop.
Now, during the day I was never tempted to eat any of the above. But after work, I couldn't help but consume sweets, chocolate & crisps.
Sometimes, whether it was the weather or the stress of the work involved, I'd get so down I needed comfort food. If you're working in the pouring rain, & tempers are getting short, all you can think about during the day is a cold beer with a bag of tortilla chips & some chocolate & gummi bears.
Obviously, these feelings that I & millions of other construction workers get is purely psychological. These foods are comfort foods.
The point of this thread is, does anyone else slip into the comfort food dungeon? Or have you slipped into the comfort food dungeon before? How do you beat this? How do you beat it forever?
I feel that this is an important topic in today's society. With advertisements here, there & everywhere selling flashy packaging food, I think everyone has slipped into the dungeon at some point.
Comfort food is my biggest struggle. Especially overeating on it. The best thing I can do is be certain that I don't have any in the house or office, have plenty of good options available, and cook dinner immediately upon ending work for the day. The longer I wait around to cook, the more likely I end up with pizza.
I read some info years ago that psychologically when we experience stress, we tend to overeat because for most of the animal kingdom, stress is tied to not having enough to eat. We are wired to overeat during stressful times. Did I word that correctly? Who knows. Hope it makes sense.
Growing up we never had enough food, and we certainly never had junk food. When something good, new or tasty made it to our kitchen, we would eat it all. Like animals. I still have this tendency today.
My life is all about minimizing bad habits. To do so I focus on:
1) Better sleep. I go to bed the same time every night. When I am overtired, I eat. Simple as that. Tied into the stress response, no doubt.
2) Don't bring junk into the house. If junk is there, I eat it. Instead I bring in healthier options like spicy almonds, or sugar-free pudding. For every junk craving, there is a healthier option. In our household we call this damage control.
3) I learned to cook. Learning to cook changed my life. My kids now love their veggies. They ask for more cauli mash. By making every meal satisfying, I'm less likely to resort to junk. I don't shy away from healthy fats or salt. I feed these cravings with healthier choices.
4) Smaller meals. I know intermittent fasting is all the rage, and I use a variation myself, but I have found that I would rather eat a smaller meal and leave some calories in reserve for another meal later - in case I crack, get hungry, whatever.
5) Allow sanity days. Allow special events, family BBQs, etc to be free days. In the past I had taken my own meals to things like this. What a waste of time, and bonding time. We bond over food. I allow myself to enjoy the special days, and the food created by others.
So I don't always beat the junk food, but I do try to make things manageable.
Not exactly eating ... but caffeine.
When I get stressed out, my caffeine intake goes way up, from an average of 6-8 mugs a day to 15-16 a day. Plus longer and longer walks. I find talking long walks and trying to sort all the stuff in my head during that time a pretty good stress reliever. May be this isn't exactly beating comfort eating, but sometimes long walks help me get de-stressed (and by inference, reduce the stress related side effects)
Somehow, I just can't get myself to eat when stressed (the odd ice cream being the only exception), so in that sense I am the very opposite of a comfort eater. I invariably lose weight after a stressful time.
When I'm under stress, I eat less, which is a normal reaction to short-term stress, I believe.
Females, however, in general, always see a rise in the "want"/"need" to eat chocolate, crisps, biscuits and such when they are premenstrual (every 21 days, pretty much) so for them they have to know exactly when their body is approaching that point in order to say NO which isn't the easiest thing to do when the body's chemical hormonal balance is crying out for a fix.
Know your triggers and find another option to replace them. Eating doesn't lessen stress, exercise does.
When I get stressed, I have to eat the product until it's finished.
eg. If I buy a packet of biscuits, I can't have one or two, I have to finish the packet.
If I buy a cake, I can't have a slice, I have to eat the whole cake.
If I buy a pizza, I can't have a slice, I have to eat the whole thing.
You get the picture.
There was a very interesting programme on last week about "The Myth's Of 5-a-day" which made me open my eyes. Fruit juices which have more sugar than chocolate bars. Very fatty, unhealthy meals which apparently add to your 5-a-day.
I wish there was something that we could do (as a society) to eliminate these unhealthy foods from our stores.
In the case of your mother-in-law, she never thought about her actions which never helped her case. She thought that by eating fruit, she was doing well by herself. My father-in-law thought by eating large amounts of nuts, he'd lose weight... He, too, never thought about his actions.
But by eating microwave meals, pastries & high fatty foods & making yourself think that you're doing well by yourself means you're floating in Egypt. Denial.
Definitely very relevant and important topic in my opinion. Good idea.
1. Both my kids moved out in the last 3 weeks. We gave them all the junk food to go with them, and we will not bring any more in the house.
2. Gave the microwave to our daughter when she moved out...no more unhealthy convenience foods here.
3. We keep frozen, single servings of protein pudding (fat free, sugar free, 2 scoops whey per box) on hand when the cravings come. Taste like a fudgesicle (sp)
4. I keep boxes of Crystal Lite in the house, an Orange Mango drink satisfies me a lot more than a plain water
5. String cheese, milk, sunflower seeds in the shell, and peanut butter.
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