“Emotional eating doesn’t heal emotional issues. When you overeat, it is because you are avoiding a much-needed conversation with yourself. Swap pigging out to listening up.” Karen Salmansohn
I am an emotional eater! (or comfort eater as some like to call it).
There I have said it, I have made my confession. Not all the time but I have been known to work my way through half a packet of chocolate digestives or a Woolies sausage roll when I am feeling overwhelmed or insecure.
What is comfort eating? You eat for reasons other than hunger. It’s an effective way to find temporary relief from many of life’s challenges.
You eat when feeling emotional, down, sad or bored (and its always the bad stuff like cake, biscuits, ice-cream or pies) and then you feel better, satisfied and content, but this is unfortunately short-lived, and you start feeling down, uncomfortable, upset and emotional and start eating again and the vicious circle continues.
Angry + lonely = ice cream. Hurt = chocolate. Bored + cookies = guilt
Can you relate to any of the following;
Do you manage your stress with food
Reward yourself with food
Do you eat when you are not actually hungry
Eat when you are lonely or bored
Want to disconnect from your negative emotions
Fill a void with food
Perhaps you want to avoid the negative feeling or emotion that makes you uncomfortable or maybe you think that you cannot deal with that particular emotion and then turn to food as a distraction.
Well, you can start healing your body and mind.
“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” ~Deborah Day
Ask yourself what’s going on in those moments when you turn to food. Pay attention to your emotions.
Recognize ‘Emotional- Eating’ Patterns
Become conscious of your emotional eating triggers and patterns. Ask yourself questions and use this clarity to help you understand yourself and your feelings. Am I physical hungry or emotionally hungry? What triggers your emotional eating? What types of foods do you crave? Do these cravings occur at regular times? What are your favourite foods to comfort you and make you feel better? What emotions are you really feeling? MindBodyGreen
I find this helpful. It takes some work because let’s face it is easier to eat those damn biscuits. But if you really want to make a change, if you are concerned about your health and need to lose weight and stop those bad habits then it IS worth the effort.
If I have a craving for biscuits I ask, am I hungry or just bored? Is it just a habit, am I wanting to eat them to cover up an emotion I can’t handle or to soothe a sad feeling? If so, then I observe that thought, be in that emotion and let it ride over me. I remembered recently that my Mom used to buy us biscuits with fresh milk on our way back from school. This was a comforting thing and helped us get over the stresses of whatever had happened at school that day. I believe that this memory carries through for me and I use biscuits for that same reason today.
Asking these questions and digging a bit deeper regularly will hopefully help me work through these patterns and understand where these cravings come from.
I am not preaching here or giving any answers but just sharing my thoughts and observations. Get professional advice if this a really a big issue with you and affecting your health.
How do you manage with emotional eating?