Diet Detective: Behaviors and Emotional Eating

The "you are what you eat" adage holds true in more ways than one. The food you put in your mouth not only affects your weight, it can also prevent and even reverse disease as well as boost your energy level and sense of well being.  

However, having this knowledge doesn't always translate into action, and ignoring it can lead to unexpected weight gain, stress or sickness.

If you often indulge despite knowing the negative consequences, use these audits to assess your behavioral issues around diet and healthy eating.

More: Train Your Body to Crave Healthy Foods

Audit: Check Your Behaviors

1. Do you buy clothes that are too small hoping that one day they will fit?
2. Do you constantly think about food?
3. When you're eating, are you already thinking about your next meal?
4. Do you often find yourself eating in secrecy?
5. At a restaurant, in the presence of others, do you refrain from ordering a dessert yet find yourself gorging on a pint of ice cream when you get home?
6. When you really stop to think, are you living to eat?
7. At a social event, do you allow yourself to indulge in high-fat foods, telling yourself that you can get back on the health wagon tomorrow?
8. At social gatherings, do you eat to be polite? Do you feel guilty turning down food?
9. Do you eat your meals anywhere you can (as opposed to eating in specific places, such as the dining room)?
10. Do you double up on dessert whenever you're feeling down?
11. Has food become the means by which you soothe emotional distress? Is it your medicine for anxiety, hurt, desperation and loneliness?
12. Has it become your stand-in for human contact?
13. Do you turn to food as the friend who will always be there for you?

More: Do a Mental Self-Audit

Mostly Yes: Next time you feel a craving, ask yourself these questions before indulging:

  • What am I really feeling?
  • Can I just be with this feeling?
  • If I eat this food, or go on this binge, what is it costing me?
  • What's really important to me right now?
  • Is there a better way to take care of myself?
  • What reward can I give myself right now that won't compromise my willpower?
  • How can I nurture myself right now without hurting myself?
  • What could I do right now that would make me feel good tomorrow?

Satisfying a craving is associated with immediate pleasure, and in that moment it doesn't matter that you may feel bad about it later. If it's a choice between avoiding the immediate "pain" of saying no to a Krispy Kreme doughnut and the long-run pain of being trapped in a body you don't like, it's easy to see which one wins most of the time—you grab the doughnut and worry about the long-term consequences later. If you know you make poor nutritional choices, all you can do is work to fix it next time.

More: Common Food Cravings and What They Mean

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