Emotional eating is so much more than stocking your fridge and pantry with the right foods. There is more to it than simply finding a distraction to take you away from eating. Now don’t get me wrong I believe that you do need to have strategies in place for when those emotions arise but none of it will work if you haven’t done the inner work first. I know from past experience that if I went for a walk as a distraction I would spend most of that time thinking about something to binge on when I got home. My internal dialogue would go something like this:
Strategy Me (S): This walk is going to make me feel good
Emotional Me (E): All I can think about is a block of chocolate
(S): I don’t need the chocolate; I will just feel really guilty if I eat it.
(E): Who cares if I feel guilty, I have had the worst day at work and I need something to feel better. I can exercise extra tomorrow to burn it off
*walks home and eats chocolate*
Now there may not have been any chocolate in the house but that would not have stopped me from getting into my car or detouring to the shops on my walk to get some. The emotions that I was feeling were so real, I didn’t want to face the fact that my day had been hard or that a situation at work might have reminded me of an emotion from my childhood, I just wanted to bury the feeling in food. Now not only in this example am I feeding my feelings I am also punishing myself and my lack of willpower with an extreme workout the next day. It doesn’t sound very healthy does it?
Think of it this way, imagine that you are building a house. This house is a thing of beauty on the outside, people look at it and wish it was their home. The walls and the roof look strong, the windows glisten and gleam but all of a sudden a big storm hits and it all comes crumbling down. Why? I hear you ask, because you didn’t take the time to set the foundations and make it strong to build upon so that it could withhold all that comes its way.
This is the same with emotional eating. I know from personal experience that I could make my outside nice and shiny, in fact even my husband for a long time after we met, didn’t know the true extent of my emotional eating. My foundations were not strong enough to handle the storms that life would throw my way and to cope I would feed those feelings with food.
For lasting results, you must get to the root of the problem. When it comes to emotional eating there is always a deeper reason that compels you to overeat. It is not always easy to look deep within ourselves and that is often the reason we fail time and time again. Healing your relationship with food first means healing your relationship with yourself.
When you have the proper tools in your hand you can build your foundation strong and get your eating under control. I know that there is no cookie cutter, one size fits all approach when it comes to emotional eating. You first need to identify your emotions when it comes to food.
Take a moment now to think about your feelings when it comes to food.
What about those feelings when you are in the middle of a binge, are they familiar?
Are you reliving a memory from the past?
My relationship with food went as deep as my childhood. There were feelings that I was trying to ignore and dull with food. I could have had a list of distractions a mile long and none of them would work until I did the hard yards and healed my inner self.
I know what it is like to feel out of control when it comes to emotional eating. I also know what it is like to come out on the other side.
Start to care about your emotions, nurture them with love, not food.
Is emotional eating an issue for you? How are you dealing with those deep emotions that can have such a strong grip on your life? Share with me your thoughts in the comments below, I can’t wait to hear them.
Big Hugs, Em xxx
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