Here’s the thing about emotional eating… There’s no pill for it, not one that prevents it AND brings health and happiness. It has to be looked at. Hard. It isn’t caused by personal defect or a lack of worthiness. It’s an appetite for SOMETHING that is momentarily filled by food but can never be satisfied by it.
Emotional eating is triggered by stress, boredom, sadness, feelings of unworthiness and more. It can appear out of nowhere without warning, unlike actual hunger which grows. And it’s a perpetual cycle that never ends until you end it. You feel terrible so you eat. You feel terrible for eating and so you eat. I’m guessing that many of us here can relate to this.
The only way I was able to successfully deal with emotional eating was to fill the void in another way. Here are some tips to address some of the primary motivators for finding comfort with food.
Boredom or awkward transitions: Create a new habit. After dinner is when the need arose to distract myself with food. I started walking with my kids after dinner rather than eating what was left from dinner. Brushing my teeth helped make it a smooth transition. Try to find something other than watching television (which just begs for snacks) to take your mind off of grazing.
Emotional pain: Talk to a friend. Find someone who can really hear what you’re saying, preferably someone who understands how it feels but is a little further down the path towards healing. Find new ways of expressing yourself like singing in the car, painting, writing and dancing. Emoting through art is a great way to relieve pressure.
Stress: SLOW DOWN. I totally hear the groans. If you think you can’t slow down, and I say this with complete kindness, you’re wrong. What would happen if you were debilitated somehow? What if you were unable to walk or came down with Mono and had to be quarantined for a month? Life would go on, yes? Learn to say no, with kindness and love. Don’t try to have it all NOW. Let others take care of themselves or help out so they LEARN HOW! I learned very slowly and painfully that my deeply held anger over “doing it all” and getting NO HELP when I was down or sick came from my actions, not others’ lack of. I trained them well to let me do it all. And just because I was sick didn’t mean they were going to brave stepping up. They didn’t know how and that was my doing. Letting go of control will help with compulsive behavior.
Please take the time to delve into this very complicated and occasionally frightening work of understanding the self. Uncovering the motives for your actions will help immensely.
BOOKS: Several from Geneen Roth, including When Food Is Love. Here’s where I share my collection of good reads: https://www.pinterest.com/lmcfadden0727/great-reading-for-the-journey-to-health-and-happin/
VIDEO: There are a number of videos from Brene’ Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert and Oprah on Super Soul Sunday talks that are excellent. You can find several here: https://www.pinterest.com/lmcfadden0727/authenticity/