Does Food Control Our Emotions or Do Our Emotions Control Our Food?

By Mary Ann Senatore (Your weight loss/gain friend)

Hello all!

I must admit to being human. I hurt my back and it was necessary to have a course of epidural steroid injections. If you have ever had steroids you will know that your appetite does increase and you probably took on a very round face look.

I have gained over the course of two months, about 6 pounds. I am eating all the right foods, and if you are familiar with Weight Watchers, you know that there are 35 flex points available every week. I will tell you all that I flexed each week during the six weeks of injections.

The first week that I got on the scale and realized a gain, I could easily justify the gain because of not only the steroids, but a serious lack of exercise. I walk at least 5 days a week and with the pain in my back and legs walking was difficult and there were even weeks that I didn’t move at all. Adding the additional food points contributed to my weight gain.

I made good choices with my food selections; however I was eating more than I was exercising. After the second injection and another gain on the scale, justification was diminishing and pity was taking over. Of course I did not gain back all 65lbs, but the feeling that I failed did take over. What did I fail at? I was in pain, could barely function, and felt like I was working overtime to control my appetite. All of this and then another gain at the scale was enough to make me want to run to the ice cream isle.

But, here’s the question. If I had eaten my one weakness food (Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food), what would that have done? Would the ice cream and delicious chocolate shaped fish make my back feel better? Would all of that fat and calories take the pain away and give me my ability to take my daily walks? No! Of course not, but I was down on myself.

Regardless of what the reason for a weight gain, should we give ourselves license to a genuine pity party? I think we all know the answer to that is no, but where was the control? Who or what was in control? Was I in control even though there were circumstances that I could not change? Or had I lost control because I was up against odds that were not in my favor?

I was in control and as I have said many times, It is what it is! I could not change the pain in my back, or the increased appetite, or the lack of exercise, but I could control my food. Control is exactly what I did. Giving into a chocolate splurge would have been easy, and I have come too far for that. Looking back and now that the injections are over, and I can exercise again, I feel good about the outcome.

Sure, I’m now doing weight loss the sequel for the 6 gained pounds and getting back to eating less food without the comfort zone of the flex points is getting easier, but how would I feel if I did eat ice cream for comfort?

So many things control our emotions, such the kind of day we have at work or home with children, getting good or bad news, watching the news and seeing coverage of either a tragic or happy event, or simply the feeling of defeat. Sometimes we do not even have control of our emotions and we cannot explain why (and this is not just a female thing).

What can we control? Our food! We may want to cry or laugh in response to something, and we allow our bodies to experience that, but is the food actually calling us? Sometimes I can almost hear the ice cream isle say my name, but then I quickly make a shopping care U-Turn and now I can hear the healthy snacks calling me. It is funny how the ice cream isle is so much more vocal and can be heard much louder than the isle where the healthy and organic snacks are. It must the acoustics in the freezer!

Are you in control? Yes you are, no matter what. Can you avoid giving in? Yes you can. While we cannot stop ourselves from feeling the emotions we are feeling we can stop our indulgence with food. I’m human and going through the same ups and downs just like everyone else. I lose, and I gain and as Frank Sinatra sang, I just pick myself up and get back in the race.

Tell me about your temptation and what you did to avoid it. I know our readers would benefit from the suggestions. Is temptation and giving into emotion part of life? Yes it always will be, but when we have strength and control, nothing can stop us!

Your friend always,

Mary Ann