I picked up a Women’s Health magazine towards the end of the tour.
I associate fitness magazines with a more disordered time in my eating history, and hence avoid them. It felt OK to read through this one. One article that really struck home explores emotional eating, and what craving certain textures can mean.
I am definitely an emotional eater. Having recognized the signs in my sister and mother as well, I’m sure a mix of nature and nurture are to blame. I am able to distinguish between emotional-hunger and true-hunger based on regular self-analysis of hunger cues. (Does my belly feel empty? Do I feel lightheaded or have a headache? Do I feel moody, weak or sluggish?) Emotional hunger occurs when I feel compelled towards certain foods in the absence of any actual hunger cues.
Anyways, this article has really made me look at my emotional-eating cravings in a new light. As previously mentioned, I understand some of my flavour-cravings. Craving Sugar = Tired. Craving Fat = Lonely, Sad, Anxious.
But analyzing the textures I crave is new. The article suggests that crunchy foods indicate anger, because of the teeth-grinding and jaw tension. Soft and creamy foods indicate a cravings for soothing, consolation, comfort.
My most frequent emotional-food-cravings are: chocolate; thick, creamy things like peanut butter, greek yogourt, milkshakes and ice cream; soft, fluffy things like white bread, white rice and soft potato; crunchy things like cookies, crackers and chips.
The interesting thing about considering textures in emotional eating is that now I can see if alternate, healthy choices within the same texture groups satisfies my craving. If it does, then bingo – I can identify the emotional / psychological trigger and learn to address that directly, without food.
I tried it the next day: Despite having just eaten a solid meal, I craved chips like nobody’s business. Instead, I chomped on some baby carrots. As I ate, I asked myself if I was feeling angry, and found that Yes, in fact, I was feeling very angry. I went on a nice mental rant, and went on a walk to clear my head, and didn’t crave chips anymore.
Likewise, I would like to challenge my soft/creamy food cravings. I especially get them late at night. Paired with my anxiety-induced insomnia, this is not surprising. I now have indications from two of my neuroses that I need to relax more at night, preferably lying down with a blanket and a good book or movie.
Emotional eating is not necessarily a bad thing; it’s a source of information about your inner psychology. You could mindlessly follow emotional hunger cues and live your whole life never noticing the difference. But in my case, where I come from a history of binge-eating and bulimia, it’s of great interest to me to distinguish between actual and emotional hunger. The benefits are a deeper psychological awareness of my daily needs and emotions, and a healthier rockstar diet.