[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e have all been there. Imagine for a second being in front of your kitchen pantry. People at work have said, “Wow that new diet of yours must working. It looks like you have lost some weight, great job!” It’s true that new diet of yours just might be working indeed. For right now though you are face-to-face with that bag of potato chips that was supposed to be something your spouse gave to the kids to go with their lunch. That bag of chips is about to be history (or in your belly depending on how you want to look at it). Besides, those darn kids have been driving you crazy all night and you have a deadline at work to meet tomorrow morning. With that being said, I can’t speak for anyone except myself and I can tell you I have been faced with this moment many times. That potato chip bag has also won the battle of my will many times from me in the past.
According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, changing the way a person thinks about his or her current situation can curb emotional eating. In a series of four studies, associate professor Meryl Gardner, PhD, and her team at the University of Delaware found the key was to focus on the future and not dwell on what put you in a foul mood to begin with. “In an evolutionary sense, it makes sense that when we feel uncomfortable or are in a bad mood, we know something is wrong and focus on what is close to us physically and what is close in time, in the here and now,” said Gardner. This is what triggers our need to go on a binge with food. The study showed that people that were able to look into the future and see a light at the end of the tunnel binged less.
I must admit it’s not always easy to do this. It’s always easier to focus on what’s in front of me and that could be one of my kids not wanting to do their homework or dreading the amount of work I will have to do the next day. What I should be focused on is the fact that my kids will not stay this age forever and I will probably make it through tomorrow just fine. I think sometimes we justify our pessimism as being our reality when in fact it’s just a moment of time that will eventually pass. Let me know if you have any questions.