“EatQ techniques are like Jedi mind tricks with food,” one of my clients, Kelly, told me the other day. She is a 38 year old, married, professional working mother of two. We had been working on helping her to stop the dead-end dieting and start becoming an emotionally intelligent eater by boosting her EatQ level. Her goal was to start taking care of herself again and get in shape. Like most moms, she found herself at the bottom of the list. The plan to turn this around began with showing her how to channel her emotions in ways that helped her make better food decisions. Similar to many of us, she routinely fell hook, line, and sinker for self-sabotaging thoughts like, “Oh what the heck, start tomorrow.”
An emotionally intelligent eater is a new concept that I talk about in my book, Eat.Q. I created Eat.Q. because many of my clients are whiz kids when it comes to nutrition and diet knowledge. In fact, many of my clients could rattle off the fat grams and sugar content of every food you could imagine. But what they don’t know is how to talk themselves into making the healthy choice. They struggle with making healthy choices when stressed out and getting back on track after slipping up.
Eat.Q. is related to emotional intelligence (E.I.), a concept with which you may already be familiar with. Eat.Q. may also remind you a little of the term I.Q. (intelligence quotient). I.Q. tests your book smarts or things like how well you remember facts or your ability to do math problems. E.I. is like your “street smarts.” You may know people who don’t get a perfect score on their SATs but they are savvy, charming, and successful in their relationships with people. EatQ are people who are successful in their relationships with food. In other words, emotionally intelligent eaters can make healthy food decisions even when they are emotional—stressed, anxious, bored, etc.
What does an emotionally intelligent eater look like? I often think of how Giada De Laurentiis, chef from the Food Network, relates to food on TV. (I don’t know her personally). Have you ever seen her eat? On her show, she takes one bite of an amazing dish and makes it last. She savors each mouthful and intricately describes how it tastes—and then she stops. She makes taking a bite or two look easy, but we all know it’s very difficult! She is mindful of each bite and able to eat just enough of it to enjoy without going overboard.
Check back next week for easy steps to get started on becoming an emotionally intelligent eater!