Confession: I totally emotionally ate yesterday!
Some diet and nutrition coaches may hate me for this but my stand on it is: No, emotional eating can be perfectly normal and healthy.
Despite what some may think, we are all emotional eaters. We make loved ones or our children their favorite foods as a demonstration of love. We bring food to friends and family to contribute or show care and concern in times of need. We give chocolates or tasty treats to the one we love to make them feel special. We go out to eat to enjoy special moments with those we care about or to celebrate. We bond over cooking a meal with a significant other…
There is no reason to deny ourselves of special moments that are magnified by the experience of eating.
Yesterday was an emotional day for me. I’ve been pushing myself to be self-expressed and vulnerable even when it’s hard. I felt super exposed yesterday. Empowered one moment and fearful the next. Confident in one second and then second-guessing moments later. At peace and then sad. Certain and confused. Name a feeling and I probably felt it.
I practiced leaning in and feeling it all, which is such a profound and strengthening practice I teach my clients to use, but it can be a lot at times.
I was craving comfort. Some people might make soup or soul-food when craving a cozy and comforting experience but I turn to overly priced organic cafes. I guess my guilty pleasures could be worse! So, I went to my local spot and relaxed with a green juice and vegan bowl of tasty and colorful nourishment. It soothed my soul.
Technically, this was emotional eating. I was craving an experience to offer relaxation and comfort (not an escape, when you’re escaping feelings with food that’s where the trouble lies). Could I have journaled? Yes. Could I have went for a walk by the beach? Yes. Could I have read a book? Yes… but in that moment it felt right.
Honoring your mind and body’s needs is perfectly normal and welcomed in healing, and if this includes a certain experience that is complimented with food I say go for it.
Here’s where emotional eating gets sticky:
1) When you become emotionally dependent on unwanted eating habits such as binge eating, chronic dieting and forcing your body into submission for a sense of control, or negative talk towards yourself and your body.
2) When you’re eating your feelings instead of feeling them. This is a big one. I sat with and felt every inch of emotion yesterday, good, bad and in-between. Food was not an escape from a feeling for me, it merely provided an enjoyable experience that was comforting.
3) When you fill a void in your life or soul with food. The main areas to look here, especially for women, are: Intimacy, vulnerability (showing your true self and feelings, and not holding back), love, career, relationships, community, sexuality, pleasure, fun, self-care.
When these areas are lacking in your life, it’s easy to reach for something food related to fill you up.
Something to Remember:
You don’t have to always have it all together. It’s ok to feel weak at times. There’s strength in vulnerability. It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to mess up. It’s ok to be lonely, or hurt, or exposed. You don’t have to run from your mess and you don’t have to hide it. It’s interesting, once you acknowledge your unwanted feelings and shine light on them instead of trying to escape them, they have room to dissipate with grace.
All of these feelings are there to show us where we need to heal. You can’t escape a shadow, but with a little light and love you can dance with it.
Needs are another thing to learn to embrace. For one reason or another we have a tendency to bottle up our needs because we feel that needing something is weak. We think we don’t actually “need” this, so we push our desires aside.
The truth is: your need’s, your desires, what your heart is yearning for…that’s where the magic lies. Validating and expressing these is the key to a fulfilled life that does not need to be filled with food and other distraction.
Know this: Anything you desire is worthy. You are worthy of your desires.
Here are a few action steps to a create a supportive relationship between food, nourishment and your feelings:
1) Create a Needs and Desires List:
Take a look at the areas listed above in your life. What are you craving? Where are your needs not getting met?
For some of us, food is a subconscious way we try to satisfy unmet needs. Once you write them down and acknowledge these needs as worthy then we can find better ways to satisfy them. After you acknowledge your needs as worthy think about what you can do to get them met in other ways besides eating and put an action plan into place to support your discoveries.
2) Be Present and Breathe When Eating: Stress can wreak havoc on our metabolism so to combat that focus on presence. Breathe deeply and be with your meal. When emotionally eating it’s easy to devour the meal quickly and miss the whole experience all together. This just leaves the craving unsatisfied. It also shuts your digestion down and slows your metabolism.
Instead: Eat slow, acknowledge that you’re eating, enjoy every bite, appreciate the experience, and breathe! Breath is a magical practice for being in the moment.
3) Keep a Food and Mood Journal:
Healing is all about awareness. Once we are aware of patterns we can re-frame and retrain them. Keep a journal and observe your emotions in relations to food. What emotions make you reach for food for comfort? What emotions do you not want to feel? What emotions do you try to escape? What food do you crave in these moments? When a craving strikes what are you feeling?
And at the end of the day please always remember…
You don’t have to fix yourself to fix your relationship with food.
You can be an emotional mess and still not go to food in those moments. That’s where true freedom lies! The whole theory that you have to have your emotions perfectly coped with and every bit of emotional turmoil handled to be free is so dated and so not effective but I will get to that more in another post!
If you want a clear cut blueprint to break free of binge and emotional eating for good, be sure to reserve your sport for a Complimentary Beating Binge Eating Breakthrough Call by clicking here.
Health & Love,
Welcome to BeatingBingeEating.com! I’m Brittany Brown.
My goal is to transform the health and happiness of the world, starting with you. You were not put on this earth to struggle. I’m here to show you how to finally feel at home in your body and end your struggle with food and your body for good. This mission was born out of my own passion-driven breakdown. Here’s my story...Read More