In the last five years I have managed to drop a wide variety of stuff off my desk into a small space between my desk and a wall; highlighters, pens, a cradle for my portable phone. Due to the configuration of this large desk and location of a file cabinet, my arms would have to be 6 feet long to retrieve those lost items. I’d curse and pull my hair out every time something I needed fell into that abyss. Several times I tried putting a whole bunch of sticky tape at the very end of a long wooden stick…didn’t work.
Then, last week I was mindlessly flipping through a catalog and I saw the perfect tool! It’s called an “Ergonomic Reacher” ; a fancy name for a long stick with a gripper at one end and a handle that moves the gripper at the other. It cost $4.99. I ordered it. It arrived yesterday. In less than a minute, I had retrieved every single lost item. I was so happy, you would have thought someone had just given me the crown jewels!
Got me thinking about how important it is to find the right tools, whether addressing items that fall off a desk or overcoming emotional eating. For so many years I tried the wrong tools. I bought tools to help me restrict my eating,. i.e. dieting books and diet programs…and I bought new exercise equipment for my basement. (Yes, I fell for more infomercials than I care to admit—anyone want to buy a barely used Total Gym?) But none of those tools fit the problem.
I was an emotional eater. I needed tools to help me handle, better tolerate, uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, situations, and tasks I wanted to avoid. I needed tools to help me self-soothe when I felt stirred up and was having food thoughts to avoid thinking about– or doing anything . What’s dieting got to do with that? Nothing! What does the exercise equipment in my basement have to do with being afraid to be alone with my thoughts and feelings? Nothing!
What I really needed were tools to help me tolerate my emotions. I needed tools to help me recognize when I was catastrophizing, creating drama in relationships, distorting the facts of a situation to fit how I felt about that situation. I needed tools to use when I was bored, or angry, or lonely. Using food was a tool…it was just not a healthy one for me.
Only when I found the tools that fit the job did I finally find ways to accomplish the task at hand; an end to emotional eating and weight obsession. If you want to learn more, a good place to start is my Free Phone Seminar, ” 5 Steps to Free Yourself from Emotional Eating”. I invite you to attend and learn more about tools that work better than food thoughts, emotional or binge eating…so much better!
Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in empowering people who are working on emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Immediate Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, firstname.lastname@example.org