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It’s time to stop numbing work stress with food. We know when we are doing it. I’m on a weight loss journey right now and I’ve lost a little over 50 pounds. It was so easy, until it wasn’t. I didn’t realize how little I had going on in my life, that is until I went back to work. We are back in the office 100% of the time.

Hello Old Friend

Something came up last week at work and I wasn’t happy. I won’t get into the details, but it turns out it was stressing me out and therefore I turned back to my old friend, emotional eating. Oh I forgot how good food works to numb feelings we don’t want to feel. I got home and had one of those little bags of Doritos that we pack in lunches. Then I had Oreos, like 8 of them. Gross, but I felt so good after.

emotional eating

But you’re supposed to tell me how to stop emotional eating about work

And I know I am supposed to be talking about how to stop emotional eating, but I want to emphasize that we emotionally eat for a reason. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with us. It doesn’t mean we need fixed. It’s a coping mechanism and honestly, it works. We all know we shouldn’t do it. Everyone knows it’s bad for us. That doesn’t mean it isn’t effective.

But we know better and we need a new way

I felt a little guilty but thought it was a one time thing. Then the whole next day, I was still feeling upset about the work issue. Without realizing it, I was planning how to get more food. I was picturing the Oreos again and wondering what other treats we have at home. But I snapped out of it and realized I need to stop emotional eating before it gets out of control.

I had a plan

Once I snapped out of it and realized what I was doing, I knew I needed a plan. I needed to get out of ruminating in my head about the work thing and get into feeling my body. Over the past year or two I’ve learned a lot of personal development so I figured there was something I’ve learned that I can use. I remembered a senses exercise I’d learned from several places. I decided to do this immediately when I thought of it and then again when I got home before I even walked into the house.

Here’s the exercise

5 things you can see

Look around wherever you are and notice 5 things. It could be a bug on the window or a picture hanging in your office. Specifically notice 5 things and really look at them.

4 things you can feel

What’s in your immediate vicinity that you can feel? It could be carpet. Your sweater. Dry skin on an elbow. Touch those things and really think about what you are feeling. Is it soft, hard, smooth?

3 things you can hear

Listen for three things. For instance, as I write this, I heard my heater cranking up. I can hear my cat purring. I can hear myself typing on my laptop. Pay attention to these sounds.

2 things you can smell

An idea could be to smell your drink, for instance a hot cup of coffee or tea. Smell a candle burning. You may be smelling old lunch food in your garbage can near your work desk. It doesn’t necessarily have to be pleasant. This is more about paying attention.

1 thing you can taste

I found this one tricky when I tried it because I wasn’t eating or drinking anything when I first did it. I had to really think about it but as I paid attention, I could taste a hint of honey almond lip balm I had put on earlier.

It worked. I had stopped emotional eating in it’s tracks.

This isn’t to say I never wanted to emotionally eat again. It’s not a cure, but a pattern interrupter. I ended up doing this several times each day for several days. It gets me out of my head and into my body.

I hope this helps. Try it out and let me know how it goes.

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Check out my other blog articles about dealing with getting through your day.