When a crisis hits, instinct sends us to the store to stock up. Water? Check. Ice cream? Check. Frozen lasagna? Check. Better make that double of everything, just in case. We stock our pantry, the fridge, the freezer, and the back-up chest in the garage. There is enough food for days, weeks even, in the event that, what, a nuclear bomb hits? A snowstorm traps us indefinitely inside the four walls of our home, or the coronavirus threatens to keep us quarantined indefinitely?
We react irrationally, thinking this behavior will protect us, hoping we can stay safe. Then we come home and panic because we feel out of control. It is a field day for the primitive part of our brain that functions in survival mode. It does whatever it can to try and keep us safe, to make things comfortable, to help us feel better in the moment. With the world around us in chaos, the primitive brain does not have to look far to find relief.
Food is the easiest, cheapest and most convenient way to experience short-term comfort, and because it is how most of us cope with stress, it is also an ingrained habit. Put us in the middle of a crisis, at home with too much food, and it is a perfect recipe for overeating and weight gain.
Maybe that does not matter to you. I am here to tell you that it should. The more you eat to manage your emotions, or the hardship of a difficult situation, the worse off you are. Not just because you bog down your physical health with excess consumption, expended energy, and potential weight gain. But because you neglect your emotional well being when you try to solve for stress by eating. Consuming food when you are stressed gives you temporary pleasure, but it does not resolve or handle the reason behind the distress, it just buries it.
That stress does not go anywhere. It just festers, deep down underneath the layers, and it will remind you that it is there until you figure out how to truly deal with it. Fatigue, anxiety, low-level depression, and irritability are all symptoms of unresolved emotional issues. Until you allow them to come to the surface, and work their way out of your system, they will persist and burden you with their weight.
How do you manage thoughts of fear, worry, and impending doom when you are in crisis mode? Most of us are never taught anything other than how to cope with food, alcohol, drugs, t.v. or shopping. Instead of numbing feeling