It hit 105 degrees here yesterday. Considering we do not live on the surface of the sun, that’s rather toasty for the end of October, even for Southern California.

To top it off, it was windy. Not a cool breeze to help make the hot temps more bearable, but we get a phenomenon here called Santa Ana winds.

I don’t know the technical and atmospheric science behind it, but if you’d like to know what Santa Ana winds feel like, do this: Turn your hair dryer on its hottest setting and aim it directly at your face.

Now you know.

And, in my case, add long hair and lip gloss to the mix and you’ll know why I’m less than thrilled to venture out on a day like yesterday. Not only do I end up with sticky hair, but brushing my hair away from my face leaves streaks of lip gloss on my cheeks.

I look like I’ve painted cat whiskers on my face – just in time for Halloween. 

I’m not complaining, though, just stating facts.

Because here’s the thing: I lived in Connecticut (a word which translates to “humidity beyond your wildest dreams“) for most of my life up until 2002.

So I am quite familiar with bone-chilling cold, snow drifts and feeling your nose hairs freeze together with each inhale.

Plus, keep in mind I was going door-to-door as an in-home personal trainer. I also lived alone and completely supported myself.

If I skipped out on appointments I did not make any money. Pure and simple.

That motivated me to lease a four-wheel drive Jeep, mainly because monster trucks were not allowed on public streets.

During a heavy storm you’d find little traffic other than snow plows… and me right behind them.

That Jeep could get through any snowstorm, which I proved many times by showing up at client’s homes in the midst of many a nor’easter.

“Hi! I’m here!” My clients were never off the hook. Not surprisingly, I was not popular.

They’d answer the door in their PJs, assuming I was sane and stayed home like a person who values her life.

They assumed incorrectly. 

If you currently live in a cold weather climate, you likely know of what I speak.

Cold weather doesn’t just bring snow, sleet and frozen nose hairs. It also makes it easy to hide under layers of clothes.

If you’re also prone to getting blue when it’s dark by the afternoon, it makes it doubly easy to reach for comfort food.

Comfort food means different things to everyone. Some people reach for ice cream or sweets when they’re down in the dumps while others want nothing more than to dig into a steaming plate of mac and cheese.

Funny thing is, I’ve never met anyone who craves a bowl of steamed kale. Not one person ever in recorded history, in fact.

Apparently, to qualify as “comfort,” food must contain:      

  1. A week’s worth of fat and calories in a single spoonful
  2. Cheese, chocolate, sugar, butter or all of the above
  3. Ice cream

This, my friends, is commonly known as emotional eating. It’s what happens when we can’t cope with feelings and, instead of calling a friend, making a cup of tea or otherwise finding a non-caloric way to cope, we reach for something that makes us feel worse in the end.

I’ve certainly done it, so I’m not judging.

However, a steady diet (pun intended) of emotional eating never ends well.

Pants shrink. Scales lie. Photos add 20 pounds.

Ironically, this results in even more emotional eating and more feeling bad and more… you get the idea.

It’s like a bad version of the Wheel of Fortune, where each spin lands on either “bankrupt” or “lose a turn.”

The key lies in stopping that wheel before it spins out of control.

And by the way, I’m bringing this up because the holidays and dealing with relatives you haven’t seen in a year can trigger all kinds of legit reasons to lie under a chocolate fountain with your mouth open.

I get it.

It’s also why I’m bringing this up NOW. Taking a proactive approach gives you a plan so you’re not caught off guard.

Keep these tips in mind:

First, recognize when you’re eating for any reason other than hunger. Here are cues to help you become aware:

REAL HUNGER

  • Comes on gradually
  • Can wait for a bit
  • Can be satisfied with a number of different food options, even healthy ones like an apple
  • After you eat you feel good
  • You stop eating when you feel full

EMOTIONAL HUNGER

  • Comes on suddenly (e.g. when Aunt Marie makes a snide comment about your mashed potatoes)
  • Requires immediate gratification
  • You crave specific foods
  • You continue eating even after you’ve had enough
  • Afterward you feel guilt, shame and powerless

Once you know the signs, make a list of ways to cope. Keep it on hand when you’re feeling stressed.

CREATE A PLAN

  1. Sip tea. Research shows people who sipped black tea experienced a drop in stress hormones when compared to subjects who drank a placebo.
  2. Pamper yourself with a massage. Bust out the foam roller or tennis ball and roll out muscle tightness, which helps lower stress.
  3. Listen to soothing music.
  4. Step away from the source of stress if you can: Go for a walk, run errands, etc.
  5. Meditate. Pop on a set of headphones and close your eyes. This works wonders even if you do it for a minute or two and is my personal favorite.

NOW YOU… WHAT TRIGGERS YOU TO EAT WHEN YOU’RE NOT HUNGRY? Let me know in the comments section below…

AND, if you enjoyed this post, please forward it to your friends and blast it out on social media. I will be SOOO grateful you have no idea.

Other posts you may enjoy:

How to stay motivated even if you’re SAD (includes a fat-burning, home workout routine!)

3 ways you (unknowingly) stop weight loss in its tracks

How to cope when weight loss isn’t happening

Your Ageless Body Coach,

By the way, if you’d like these words of wisdom delivered directly to you each week, simply sign up for my newsletter on my home page! Scroll down to the second purple bar, pop in your name and email and you’re good to go :).