WEEK 7 Progress Picture
Starting Weight: 110.1kgs
Week 1: 107.6kgs (-2.5kgs)
Week 2: 104.5kgs (-3.1kgs)
Week 3: 103.1kgs (-1.4kgs)
Week 4: 101.1kgs (-2kgs)
Week 5: 99.8kgs (-1.3kgs)
Week 6: 98.8kgs (-1kg)
Week 7: 98.2 (-600g)
Total Loss to date: 11.9kgs
The One about Emotional Eating
I decided to enter an online qualifier CrossFit competition this week that, quite simply, involved completing four different workouts and then sending a video recording of you completing the workouts to the organisers. Of course, no one knew what every else’s scores would be until the deadline so it really was a stab in the dark with regards to how you think you did.
The top 20 from each category would get an invitation to the live finals in January, and as it turned out, I placed – wait for it – 21st. 21st! One spot away from qualifying!
Now, had I placed 40, or even 30th I would have been okay with the placing. But being just one spot away from getting a spot in the finale really hit me hard.
I kept thinking back to my video submissions and finding flaws; going through the workouts over and over in my head and knowing I could have pushed a bit harder. A few mere seconds could have been the difference between 20th and 21st, and this was very hard for me to digest. So, I decided to digest something else. I started to digest my comfort foods. I fell into emotional eating.
What is Emotional Eating?
Emotional eating is eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness. In my case, it was anger at not qualifying, and fear that I’m not good enough as a CrossFit competitor.
Over the years I’ve come to understand that I’m an emotional eater. Although some people eat less in the face of strong emotions, emotional distress can lead others to turn to impulsive or binge eating, quickly consuming whatever's convenient without enjoyment. When my emotions are heightened, I like to find comfort and solace in food. I’ve been this way since before I can remember, and though I am very aware of this, it can still be hard to stop emotional eating when I’m in that space, at that time.
The Effect of Emotional Eating?
Whatever emotions drive you to overeat, the end result is often the same. The effect is temporary, the emotions return and you likely then bear the additional burden of guilt about setting back your weight-loss goal. It can be the start of a vicious cycle, too, because emotional eating can result in you feeling bad about yourself, your emotions trigger you to overeat, you beat yourself up for getting off your weight-loss track, you feel bad and you overeat again.
Coping with Emotional Eating
Coming so close to qualifying admittedly made me very upset. I felt like I wasn’t good enough and I started to question my body; that if my body wasn’t so big to begin with, I would have had better results. So quite possibly some of my emotional eating was me punishing myself, and some could say there was an element of self-harm with my eating.
I ransacked the confectionary aisle at Tesco's and bought chocolates and crisps, followed by a late-night McDonald's drive-thru visit, and topped off with 1 or 6 slimline gin & tonics (yes Slimline, so it wasn't all bad). Did this make me feel better? No. What did it accomplish? Besides a tiny hangover and bad sleep because I was overfull, nothing.
I’ll tell you what did help- talking to my partner about the source of my emotions and why I was upset. Talking about how it upset me and why it upset me, acknowledging that I was emotional and that it was causing me to eat emotionally, and then creating a plan moving forward with what I learned from this competition and experience and how to apply these learnings for preparations for future competitions.
Sometimes the strongest food cravings hit when you're at your weakest point emotionally. You may turn to food for comfort — consciously or unconsciously — when facing a difficult problem, feeling stressed or even feeling bored.
Emotional eating can sabotage your weight-loss efforts. It often leads to eating too much. The good news is that if you're prone to emotional eating, you can take steps to regain control of your eating habits and get back on track with your weight-loss goals.
Strategies to Combat Emotional Eating in the Moment:
- Go for a walk or a run: Sometimes just getting some fresh air and changing the environment can do wonders for you
- Meditation: Find somewhere quiet and focus on breathing and clearing your mind. YouTube has great clips for meditation techniques and practices.
- Talk to someone: Sometimes talking about what you're emotional about can help you confront the emotion head-on. Like a secret, you can sometimes feel better by telling someone and lifting the burden, then working out strategies to overcome the problem instead of turning to food.
To Control Cravings Triggered from Negative Emotions, Try these Tips:
- Keep a food diary: Track what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you're feeling when you eat and your hunger levels. This can help you identify patterns over time that can reveal your connection with food and mood.
- Meditation: If stress contributes to your emotional eating, manage that stress with techniques, such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing.
- Overcome Boredom: Sometimes you’re just bored and you instinctively reach for that snack box out of habit. Instead of snacking when you're not hungry, distract yourself and substitute a healthier behaviour. Take a walk, a jog, call a friend, go shopping!
- Learn from previous setbacks: If you have an episode of emotional eating, forgive yourself and start fresh the next day. Try to learn from the experience and make a plan for how you can prevent it in the future. Focus on the positive changes you're making in your eating habits and give yourself credit for making changes that'll lead to better health.
Paulo’s Meal of the Week:
The heart of this dish is steam roasted chicken bathed in our brand new Jollof Sauce. Smoky and spicy we hit it with a host of ingredients including cumin, fire-roasted peppers, hot chilli and brown sugar. Served on top of a generous portion of Jollof rice and with plenty of charred broccoli on the side – this is a seriously delicious dish that will keep you pumped throughout the day.
Lower carb is served with our Jollof Swede Rice. Sweet, savoury and with enough bite to make sure that your lower-carb meal feels just as substantial as you need it to.