My History With Emotional Eating
Emotional eating and I go waaaaaaay back.
In fact, one of my biggest challenges I had to work through when starting the autoimmune protocol? Emotional eating.
So I wanted to share a quick autoimmune protocol (AIP) tip for emotional eating: pointing and calling.
Prior to starting the AIP, I battled emotional eating for years.
Eventually, I narrowed my emotional eating down to one cheat day a week, then one cheat meal a week, and so on.
Enter: The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)
Then I started the autoimmune protocol, and I chose to no longer eat the foods that helped me emotionally because those foods hurt me physically.
Sounds pretty cut and dry, right?
It was hard.
I wrote a blog post all about overcoming unhealthy coping mechanisms, and another blog post dishing about overcoming sugar cravings on the autoimmune protocol.
We are Never Ever Getting Back Together…Or So I Thought
I felt so proud of myself after breaking through my emotional eating cycle.
Honestly, I did not struggle with it for several months.
Until last month.
Without meaning to, or even realizing it at first, I found myself emotionally eating again. You see, I’ve been under more stress than usual, and surrounded by distractions.
I’m still technically on the “autoimmune protocol,” but find myself not balancing my meals as well, letting nutrient density slide, and turning to AIP snacks and treats unnecessarily.
So as I battle my tendency to emotionally eat again, I wanted to share one thing that’s helped me.
Pointing and Calling
It’s a technique that I read about in one of my favorite books, Atomic Habits, which is a book all about building good habits and breaking bad ones.
The technique is called “pointing and calling,” and actually comes from the Japanese railway system, which is known as one of the safest railway systems in the world.
Each conductor and employee in the Japanese railway system uses pointing-and-calling as a safety procedure. As they run the train, they point at different objects, and call out the commands.
Pointing-and-calling works because it increases awareness of subconscious habits.
So, why do I even bring this up and how can we use pointing-and-calling in our lives?
Pointing and calling can help us change our habits as it makes us clearly aware of what we are doing and why.
It can also help us recognize the need to develop new habits as we become more aware of habits that are not serving us.
So what does pointing and calling look like for me when it comes to emotional eating?
AIP Tip for Emotional Eating: Pointing & Calling
It looks like an observation, “I am going to eat a large amount of cassava chips because I feel stressed.” Technically cassava chips are AIP friendly, but I personally feel unwell when I eat more than a few, or eat them too often.
Another example of how I use pointing and calling to become more aware of my emotional eating?
“I am going to eat a ridiculously huge piece of AIP cake because I feel unable to handle what’s going on in my life right now.”
The trick is to say it out loud, and for me, to identify WHY I am doing it or what the consequence might be.
You do not have to identify the cause or the result. You can just point and call the behavior.
For example, if you are starting the AIP, and feel tempted to eat pizza, but know you feel sick when you do, you could say, “I am going to eat pizza. Eating pizza will make me feel sick, and I will be breaking the commitment I made to myself to eat according to the AIP and increase wellness.”
Or “I am going to eat pizza. If I eat the pizza, it may make me feel so unwell I cannot get out of bed to take care of my kids.”
When it comes to emotional eating, usually when I hear myself saying out loud what I am going to do, I realize I am about to do something I do not actually want to do, that goes against my goals.
Other times, I point and call, and do it anyway. However, at least I am more aware of why I am choosing to eat x,y, or z, and consciously choosing to emotionally eat.
Spoiler Alert: We Got This
Emotional eating is something that takes time to work through and overcome. Pointing and calling is just one quick tip I use for emotional eating. I also use other tools which I look forward to sharing. Some of the tools I use are in the blog posts linked above.
If you struggle with emotional eating, please know you are not alone. The struggle is real. Please offer yourself love and understanding through the process of working through, and overcoming, emotional eating.
The process may be difficult, and ugly at times, but it is worth it.
So worth it.
I believe in you.
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