It sounds a little obvious to say in order to avoid a food binge, don’t get too hungry. But stick with me here. I have had several clients lately who are workaholics. They are routinely working 12+ hour days. They tend to grab sugary “treats” during the day to keep going. And on the way home they are (or were before we straightened it out) tempted to stop at the nearest fast food joint to grab what was easy and ready to eat.
Getting too hungry leads to making bad decisions, especially if your blood sugar drops very low. Workaholics especially tend to forget to eat during the day, until their bodies can’t stand it one more minute and force them to grab the nearest calories whatever the cost.
I worked with these clients to make sure that they had balanced snacks to eat during the day—with protein, fat, and carbs. Maybe a banana or apple and some almond butter. And that they scheduled a regular time to make sure they actually ate their snack. In this way, they had plenty of energy left at the end of the day to drive right past the Taco Bell and go home to a real food dinner.
As for getting too angry or lonely, I’m sure most of us have experienced emotionally driven eating once in a while. Who hasn’t said, “I’m so angry I’m going to eat a whole pizza.”? Be honest.
There is a close, two way link between stress and digestion. Stress actually makes good digestion harder. But eating well can also contribute to lowering stress. If you’re finding you’re often uncontrollably angry you might want to check your blood sugar. Low blood sugar can lead to irrational anger. I have also observed that people who enough good healthy saturated fats like butter and coconut oil tend to be much more patient and tolerant.
If pizza is the anger food, ice cream is the go to food for loneliness. With fats for satiety, and fresh fruit for brightness and sweetness, ice cream done right can actually be healing (See my recipe for Blueberry Lemon Mint ice cream).
But, I am a holistic health coach and so I don’t think food is the answer to all my troubles. I also have to make sure that I’m meditating regularly and doing the necessary things to maintain my relationships to avoid unnecessary anger and loneliness.Similarly, my first suggestion when you are tired is to sleep. I am a very big fan of sleep. Getting plenty of sleep at night, and taking naps too if needed. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a vicious cycle of exhaustion as we seek stimulants (like caffeine and carbs) to keep going during the day and then are unable to sleep well at night because we over-stimulated.
My first career often required very long days and I was chronically sleep deprived. It was amazing how much better my mood and energy would be when I finally was able to catch up on my sleep. No amount of caffeine or carbs can make up for good sleep.
All of these things can be interrelated too. If I’m too hungry, I can get cranky, which makes people not want to hang out with me, which makes me stay up all night worrying. Despite what the advertisers would have you believe, Snickers is not the answer. But a good supportive diet and lifestyle can help.