THE ADVENTURES OF KANE
THE VALLEY PATRIOT’S OFFICIAL MASCOT
Kane has felt stressed out lately! He finds himself running to food to feel better! He has been sneaking food when nobody is around, hiding the wrappers in his house, and plotting and planning how to get more!
Yesterday he almost stole his human’s whole pizza.
Although the food is great in the moment, it doesn’t really make him feel better. In fact, it doesn’t really sooth his stress. It feels rather out of balance. So, Kane went to a counselor, a library, and did research late at night online and found out he is an emotional eater! Kane decided he would like to have a healthy relationship with food so here is his journey.
Kane learned that many people have a complex relationship with food. According to a 2013 article from the American Psychological Association named “ Stress and Eating” (Are teens Adopting Adults’ Stress habits?), 38% of adults say they have overeaten foods in the past month due to stress. These individuals reported they do so because it helps them distract from their worries.
The article reports half of these adults (49%) report engaging in these behaviors weekly or more. Some also site habit as a reason it continues. So Kane learned he was not alone. I guess it was good for him to look at this and be honest about where he is with his relationship with food, and where he would like to be.
His counselor suggested he make a list of how his day was going. It is important to keep a log of whether there was an emotional eating episode or not and what emotions triggered the episode.
So, Kane got to work on this. He discovered he was mad yesterday morning when his sister Ruby went out with his humans, and he was left alone. He felt lonely and ignored. At the time he didn’t know she was going to the vet. No thank you to that thought Kane.
Anyway, right away he tried to open the bread drawer to see if he could find some crackers. Maybe feeling mad, lonely, and ignored would lessen if he found crackers or even those lame dog cookies his human buys. Kane told his counselor this was hard to look at in general. He felt judged by himself and the whole thing felt kind of raw even though being honest with himself was the way to go.
Kane kept his food and emotions log and learned that foods were not good or bad. In fact, all foods in moderation creates a healthy mindset towards food. He chuckled at thinking that twinkles don’t rob banks. However, being healthy means eating each meal, and two snacks to keep his metabolism moving and his body satisfied so he doesn’t confuse physical hunger with emotional hunger and the most important element was not judging yourself.
It is important for Kane to think of his journey as fact finding and trying different approaches to see what works. Kane learned that recovery from food challenges is never a straight line. Instead of shaming himself, Kane will say it’s me Kane, I struggle with this, but I will get back on track the next meal or snack. Forward movement is movement.
Kane learned from his counselor and reading that black and white thinking is an enemy to his recovery. Saying negative things like you are weak, you messed up again, you can’t do this just zaps the positive energy you could use for change. What about today I learned I can’t have a whole cake on my counter, or bringing my lunch to work is best for me. Thinking of the change as caring for yourself in a positive way. Being kind during the transitions.
So, in review Kane learned the following points that have helped him develop a positive relationship with food.
Keep an emotion and food log.
Enjoy all foods, with treats in moderation.
Approach your journey with kindness and compassion towards yourself.
Notice black and white (all or nothing thinking) and make room for the gray instead, room to explore what happened and what you could do differently next time.
As for Kane, he discovered sometimes he just enjoys being a bit naughty. So instead of stealing food and using it to manage his emotions, he hides phones, keys, and papers on his humans. He even steals laundry. You should see them looking for it. He would blame Ruby, but they know she never does anything wrong.
Happy balanced eating to all. Food is meant to be enjoyed.
Columnist Valley Patriot
Woof Woof ◊