As a nutritionist who works with women who struggle with emotional eating, one of the complaints I hear most often from my clients is – “I’m incapable of eating just one cookie! Once I start, I just can’t stop!”
Let me be the first to say that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating cookies. I, for one, do not want to live in a world where it’s not okay to eat cookies.
However, when you’re eating the whole bag, there’s something going on over and above your enjoyment of cookies.
It is possible to love cookies but not eat the whole bag.
I’m going to help you get to a place where you can – not only eat just one cookie – but feel utterly calm and satisfied while doing it.
Here we go:
- Enjoy the cookie
As I said above, there’s nothing wrong with a cookie. It’s delicious and it feels good to eat and that’s totally fine. So stop feeling guilty about wanting a cookie and eating a cookie.
The guilt and shame are part of what drives us to eat the whole bag. We’re so angry at ourselves and so guilty for what we perceive as our lack of willpower that we “punish” ourselves by eating way too much.
Have you ever eaten a cookie and then said to yourself, “Well, I’ve already ruined the day now, might as well have another!”
Well, stop that!
The cookie is not the enemy. The cookie is innocent and simply delicious. Eat it happily and proudly and with love and gratitude.
- Eat it slowly and mindfully
If you’re going to enjoy the cookie, really enjoy it.
Don’t eat it in the car while you’re driving, or while you’re zoned out in front of the TV, or hiding behind the pantry door so your kids don’t see you and ask for one.
Don’t just shove it in your mouth in one bite and swallow it whole.
Sit down, take your time, smell it, look at it, take small bites and really chew it, savouring the sweetness and the softness or the crunch.
Enjoy the chocolatey-ness, or the sweet raisins, or the earthy nuts, or the happy rainbow sprinkles.
Don’t hide. Don’t hurry. Eat it proudly. Give it the time and space it deserves so that you can know that you really did enjoy the cookie.
- Combine the cookie with another method of self-care
The reason you feel like you can’t get enough cookies is because you’re asking the cookies to do something that cookies are incapable of doing. You’re asking them to feed your emotional hunger.
You’re stressed or bored or lonely or tired and you’re asking cookies to fix that.
Cookies can’t do that.
They can do a lot of things, but they can’t do that.
Don’t ask the cookie to meet your emotional needs. Eat the cookie and enjoy it, but if you’re feeling tired or bored or stressed, combine it with another method of self-care that feels good to you and that really will help you feel relaxed, happier, calmer and recharged. For example, eat it in bed in your favourite cozy pj’s with a warm mug of herbal tea and a good book. Or, eat it outside in the sunshine in your bare feet with a bowl of gorgeous fruit while listening to your favourite song.
Try these tips the next time you’re faced with the choice to eat one cookie or all the cookies and let me know how it goes.
In the next few weeks I’m going to be starting up my free 10-Day Mindful Eating Challenge again. Stay tuned for information on how to sign up and I’ll spend 10 days teaching you how to use the ancient principles of mindfulness to forever change your relationship with food!