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When you're stressed, what's your solution?

Many people ate their way through the pandemic and are now carrying the COVID-19 to prove it. There's a better way to relieve your stress without resorting to a bag of chips.

Will something to eat fix stress?

If you're not actually hungry, snacking or eating a sweet something won't solve any problems, and may in fact make you feel worse about yourself. So not recommended.

Is it time to become disenchanted with food as the be-all and end-all solution to life's woes?

Under the spell of food--"enchanted"

I've been reading a terrific book by Judson Brewer, M.D, a psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and behavior change specialist. It's called Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind. What I love about the process of breaking a habit he describes--whether it's worrying or stress-eating or smoking--and I want to focus on the eating--it starts with being mindful and curious. Mindful of the sensations in your body as you stress-eat and afterwards, curious about your thought process that led you to believe the food would help, and present to the current taste in your mouth as you eat.

We often eat as if we were in a trance. We imbue food with magical powers to make us feel better (loved, comforted, more relaxed, etc). When you truly experience a snack or sweet with the curiosity of a newcomer to it, savoring it bite by bite in the present moment, you may find it's not as fabulous or powerful a healer as you'd expected. Do this a few times with a food you feel spell-bound by, and you may become "disenchanted," with it, at least as a go-to solution to all your woes. The emperor has no clothes.

This is part of the process I describe in my forthcoming book, The Cherry Pie Paradox: The Surprising Path to Diet Freedom and Lasting Weight Loss. I never did any scientific studies on why it worked with so many of our Thin Within participants back in the 1970s, but Brewer has. It works.

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