It was a holiday week. I was under some stress. Not only did I have people over to stay, I was also processing some unexpected weighty emotional stuff.

The food issues I navigated over that week weren’t just about the large meals I cooked for company- with foods I don’t normally eat. I was also eating MORE than I normally eat.

I ate mindlessly. I was eating because I was stressed out.

Initially I told myself it was because there were extra people in my house, and perhaps I was feeling unappreciated (cook cook, watch folks eat what you cooked, clean clean, all-by-yourself, you know the drill). But really, I was processing some larger emotions and feelings that I wasn’t sure how to navigate.

I was worried, stressed, and trying to understand what I was feeling. In an effort comfort and nurture myself I was literally stuffing food in my face. That’s what we call mindless eating.

The weirdest part of it all was that I knew I wasn’t hungry- but I continued to eat anyway.

My eating was being driven by my emotions, not by my hunger.

I was trying to numb the emotional discomfort and the emotional pain I was feeling. And that was real reason I was struggling with food over the holiday.

It wasn’t about eating food that was bad for me. It was about trying NOT to feel what I was feeling.

I was experiencing what happens when an emotion, triggers an eating response. My eating, mindlessly driven by an emotion. And further fueled by the fact that I was surrounded by an abundance of foods that I don’t normally eat.

So, my thought today is to…

Pay attention to what triggers you into an eating cycle.

What is driving you to eat? Are you actually hungry? Are you searching for comfort? Are you bored? Are you hiding from something?

It’s okay to eat because you’re stressed out. When it happens, you don’t have to treat yourself badly or punish yourself or make yourself bad or wrong.

Instead practice becoming more aware of what is driving you to eat.

Continue to ask yourself questions – gently. Why are you eating? What is driving you to eat right now? Are you actually hungry? Searching for comfort? Bored? Hiding from something? Why did you choose to eat what you’re eating?

There is nothing wrong with feeding your emotions (my emotions enjoy an occasional slice of cake). Just realize that is what you are doing. Let it be a choice and not a mindless reaction.