Emotional Eating and Creativity as a Cure - Guest Post by Trisha Slay

July 8, 2013
I'm so happy to have Trisha Slay guest blogging! Not only can I relate to this article you are about to read, but I love the book she has coming out! Everyone who comments on this article has a chance to win!

Have you ever been eating, your arm feeding bite after bite into your mouth, when a sudden realization pops into your brain? The realization, when it hits, goes something like this....

Why am I still eating? I'm not the least bit hungry. I'm not even sure I can actually taste the food I'm shoveling into my face. Why can't I just stop?

It happens to me more often than I care to admit. I'm an emotional eater. Despite the knowledge that thousands, possibly millions of Americans suffer from the same unhealthy behavior, I still feel shame every time I type those two words. Emotional eater. Ugh. It's just so humiliating!

Part of the reason I'm so ashamed of this particular weakness is that I've been the inspirational weight loss success story. I lost 40 pounds with Weight Watchers in 2006 and stayed within my healthy weight range for four years. For part of that time I was even a Weight Watchers Leader. So, you see, I have no excuse. I know just about every tip and trick to live a healthy lifestyle.

I also love healthy foods and exercise. I really do. I would prefer a ripe, juicy, colorful fruit salad over a doughnut any day. Going a whole day without a good walk or a long hike in the woods or even a refreshing session on the elliptical machine feels like misery to me. And yet, emotional eating continues to be the curse that spoils my best intentions.

Part of the problem is that I have trouble dealing with empty spaces. I need to fill them with...something. This tendency takes a variety of forms. I live in a cluttered house, work at a cluttered desk and drive a cluttered car. When there’s a lull in the conversation, I’m too quick to fill the silence with babble. And, even though I know better, I consume way too many calories when I’m bored (or lonely, or anxious, or stressed or…you get the idea).

In Weight Watchers, we addressed the issue of emotional eating with a three-step approach:
  1. Ask yourself if you are truly hungry or are you trying to soothe an emotional need with food?
  2. If you are trying to soothe an uncomfortable emotion, put a name on that emotion
  3. Find something that will better address the emotion in a healthy way.
Yeah...it’s just that simple. It really is. But simple does NOT = easy.
I consider myself a creative person. If you're reading this, chances are you consider yourself to be creative too. Well, I have a few deeply rooted beliefs about creativity:
  • Creativity = Problem Solving
  • Creativity feeds the soul
  • Creativity is KEY to finding and maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • Everybody, everybody, everybody is capable of being creative
  • When you nurture your body, creativity blossoms
  • As creativity flows, it becomes easier to nurture your body
If you are interested in trying the creativity cure, start by asking this question - When the urge to overeat hits, what creative projects could break the cycle and feed your soul?
Every person has to answer this question for themselves. No one can eat a bag of Doritos while knitting, but you may not like to knit. On the other hand, you may love to paint, but are understandably hesitant to drag out an easel and paint palette at ten o'clock at night. Keep in mind that there's no need to limit creative projects to arts and crafts. Puzzles, games, music and dancing can all feed the creative spirit and soothe the urge to eat. Some people swear by the power of writing in a journal.
The secret is to come up with multiple creative activities that are: (1) Enjoyable for you, (2) Easy to start/do at a moment's notice without any assistance, (3) Not prohibitively messy or expensive, and (4) Able to occupy both your hands and your thoughts for at least 20 minutes.
That time period is key. When the urge to dive headfirst into a bucket of ice cream hits, give yourself 20 minutes to try do something creative. You can still have that dish of butter pecan after 20 minutes...IF you still want to eat. But, chances are that 20 minutes of creative activity will get you out of the danger zone.
And that's it. That's the creativity cure for emotional eating. What do you think? What could be the harm in giving it a try? It may not work every time, but a little more creativity in your life certainly can't hurt. Wouldn't you agree?

Trisha Slay is a writer with a passion for storytelling. She has studied at the Institute of Children's Literature as well as furthering her skills through online workshops. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and the Atlanta Writer's Club. She enjoys participating in writing groups and spends a great deal of time improving her craft. Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away is her first novel.

Tricia hopes Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away would be compared to Looking for Alaska by John Green and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. She has said that "If those two books had a Star Wars-obsessed little sister, I'd like to think she would be my novel."

Tricia lives between the Atlanta metro area and the North Georgia Mountains, but hails originally from Ohio...by the way of the San Francisco Bay area. When she is not working on her next book (tentatively titled Sometimes We Strike Back), her interests include: 70s pop culture; unsolved mysteries; Star Wars (original trilogy); historic movie theaters; haunted history; reading (especially YA novels); nutrition/weight watchers/healthy vegetarian cuisine; hiking (exploring the National Forest trails with her guy); yoga/meditation; miscellaneous crafting projects (that rarely turn out as envisioned); and writing letters she never intends to mail.

Find out more about the author by visiting her online:
Trisha’s website:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrishaSlayAuthor
Twitter: @SlaytheWriter
Thank you again Trisha! And don't forget, by commenting you have a chance to win a copy of her book! Contest ends 7/19/2013.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, I get it. My overeating is always an indicator that something feels out of kilter. Often I try and ignore those "off" feelings and will reach for the numbing food anyway. Sometimes I see the message behind the urge to eat and realise: I'm out of flow. And the best way for me to get back into flow? To be creative. It works in a preventative way too: the more time I spend being creative (in whatever fashion), the less I need to overeat. Balance that out with time just to "be", and time moving my body and... voila! It's simple. But like you said, simple doesn't = easy. It's okay though; I'm working on it.


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