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How to Not Eat The Entire Pantry (Even When You Want To)

pantry2Have you ever had one of those days where nothing seems to be going right? You are super stressed out about work, your significant other is irritating the *%$& out of you, your house is dirty and looks like a war zone, and you just can’t seem to get out of your “mood”? We’ve all been there.

You get home and something seems to beckon your name from the kitchen…

The Pantry.

You open the door and wonder what’s in there that you can devour. Even though you have the shelves memorized.

You’re hoping something will appear, though.  Something wonderful.  Something magical. Something that you’ll “just take a bit of” and make all your problems disappear.

But nothing appears. You shut the door. You open it again, hoping something delicious will have magically manifested by the power of your imagination.

And then you see something in the back peeking through the rows of “healthy” snacks you made yourself buy.  It’s that darn bag of doritos you had from a gathering a few weeks ago. They are probably stale, but that doesn’t deter you. You want something to distract you from all the crazy thoughts swirling in your head…

Next time you’re in this boat- STOP. Keep these “stop you in your tracks” hints handy:

  1. Remember to HALT. This is one of my favorite acronyms from the days I spent in Overeaters Anonymous.  When you feel like you could consume a house, remember to HALT. Are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired? If you are indeed hungry, eat! But, if it’s something else that’s bothering you, that emotional hunger may be mistaken for physical hunger.  If you’re feeling something other than hunger, that is your indication you need to close the pantry and deal with whatever you’re feeling. Angry? Talk to the person you feel angry with. Lonely? Call a sibling or your parents to say hello. Tired? Lay down on the couch and take a power nap.
  2. Distract yourself. There is no better way to reassess your current state of “I may devour this whole pantry” then a quick 15 minute distraction. Take a walk, turn on a funny TV show, clean your bathroom, rearrange your closest, go outside…do anything-any task or activity that will distract you for just 15 minutes. this will allow your mind to take a break from focusing on wanting to consume insane amounts of food. You will be amazed that after 10-15 minutes, when you are immersed in something else, that feeling of wanting to eat everything will dissipate on its own.
  3. Deal with the situation at hand. Know that whatever you’re stressed out about, eating your entire pantry will not solve it. I know it seems SO tempting in the moment, and really even those stale cookies are looking pretty good… but really. You won’t feel any better after you’ve eaten 3 boxes of wheat thins. How can you deal with whatever is bothering you? If it’s work stress, maybe decide to delegate something to your team.  If it’s a fight, call the person to talk things through. And if it’s just “one of those days”, then do something wonderful for yourself-a bubble bath, a manicure, or a relaxing walk in the park.

So, the next time you are standing in front of your pantry, wishing something would magically appear to make you day better, remember these tips! They will keep you from stuffing your face with cheez-its when what you really want is to decompress from a long day.

Take Action!

What do you do when you feel that magic pull towards the pantry? How can you use these tips next time you feel the “urge”? I’d love to hear your comments below.

www.jennhand.com

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3 comments

  • Emotional eating is a struggle, I love your tips to help manage this tough time. One thing I do is not keep junk food in my house at all. I do allow myself to eat something junky occasionally, but I better really want it because I need to leave the house to get it.

  • I love the HALT acronym! I sometimes try to trick myself into eating something healthier first. If I still want my ‘not so good’ snack then I’ll go for it after I’ve had something healthier. Often I don’t want it though:)

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