I’m here today with a BIG confession that might shock you. So here goes…
I still emotionally eat.
Yes, you read that correctly
Emotional eating is still a part of my life, even after beating binge eating. BUT… it’s not the kind of “emotional eating” that you think it is.
I’ve got a bold statement for you that is VERY contrary to popular opinion: emotional eating isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Believe me, I get why you might think I’m crazy for even saying this. After all, I know how devastating it can be to stuff down your feelings with food.
As you already know I was on an emotional and physical rollercoaster with food for over a decade. Emotional eating, as most of us know it, RULED MY LIFE.
Things are highly different for me now.
These days I have a free, easy, and fulfilling relationship with food. Believe it or not, that relationship includes what some might call emotional eating.
I’m sure you’re wondering how can anyone find food freedom and still emotionally eat.
Isn’t that whole “eating your feelings” thing exactly what keeps you stuck in binge eating misery?
The key is knowing that there is more than one way that emotions affect your appetite.
One way supports you, the other keeps you stuck in a place where food wreaks havoc on your life.
Watch the video below to find out why everything you’ve ever heard about emotional eating isn’t entirely correct–AND how to use this information to change how you relate to food!
You’ll learn the difference between the two types of emotional eating.
Then I’ll show you how to free yourself from the not-so-good version of it once and for ALL — and put the supportive version to work for you!
Ready? Let’s talk about how to use your emotions to create an amazing relationship with food rather than a miserable one…
As of this writing, the Coronavirus pandemic is still in effect. I’m guessing that you’ve got a lot on your mind now, as we all do. We’re stressed out, anxious, overwhelmed, even bored. All these intense emotions could drive anyone to the cabinets in search of a break.
So “emotional eating” is a thing for a lot of us right now and I get it. It is even worse if the struggle with food has ever been a thing for you.
Binging to bury my feelings was once a WAY of life for me. I battled it for over a decade, from my mid-teens to my mid-20s, and let me tell you–it wasn’t pretty and it honestly felt like I was always in a battle with myself.
All those years, I tried every diet there was, hoping they would put an end to those painful cravings and binges. But all dieting did was pour fuel on the binge eating fire.
Then I began to wonder if my uncontrolled binging was a purely emotional thing. Maybe I binged because I was an emotional wreck, and needed a ton of inner healing to make it stop. So off I went to therapy…
After diving head first into traditional therapy, I quickly learned two things. First, inner healing and emotional work does help. BUT second, it also doesn’t take you all the way to food freedom, either.
During this time, I also discovered that I had a preconceived belief that ANY eating based on emotions was a BAD thing. Period.
I believed that if I EVER chose food based on emotions instead of just hunger, there was something wrong with me. Surely it had to mean that I was an emotional eater, and I needed more inner healing and therapy before I’d be free, right?
Turns out that I wasn’t seeing the entire picture about food and feelings.
What did I ultimately discover about food and emotions you ask?
I learned that there’s a difference between supportive emotional eating and unsupportive emotional eating. One is energizing and grounding. The other is draining and exhausting.
Let me break them both down here for you:
Unsupportive emotional eating means numbing out your emotions with food. It’s grabbing a snack when the stress, sadness, fear, or anxiety is too much. It’s disconnected, unconscious, and reactive. We’re talking about things like grabbing a cookie when you’re emotionally triggered. Or numbing out in front of the TV with a bag of chips so you forget your troubles.
This is the default definition. But there IS a second option, and here it is:
Supportive emotional eating is different. It’s based on connecting to your body. It’s checking in with yourself and determining how you want to feel. Then, it’s about making a food choice that supports the emotions you want to feel.
Want a clear picture of the difference between the two?
Let’s look at a few examples so you know what I mean, starting with one from my own life.
One morning a while back, I woke up feeling groggy, exhausted, and way out of sorts. I needed to lift my spirits and energize my body (and fast!). I knew that to feel the way I wanted to feel, I needed something green and energizing, like a raw food filled smoothie. Something that would make me feel energized, grounded, and human again.
Technically speaking, I made an emotional decision about what to eat. If you called that “emotional eating,” you’d be right! But this kind of emotional eating is healthy and supportive. It comes from a place of connection instead of compulsion.
So what might supportive emotional eating look like for you? Here’s another example:
Say you’re out with your friends for a fun dinner. Before you order, you decide to check in with yourself, and decide what you want from this dining out experience. There are a few different ways this scenario could go…
Maybe you know you’ve got a crazy schedule the next day. So with this in mind, you choose a meal that will leave you feeling energized not only now, but for the next day too.
Then again, you might just want to enjoy time with your friends, have some of your favorite food, and chill out. In this case, you choose to order those tacos or have a margarita–and allow yourself to enjoy every moment of it. Because connection and fun are your main objectives.
BOTH decisions are emotionally-based. But they’re based on the emotions that you want to feel, not the emotions that you want to squelch. You’re staying connected to your body. You’re making a choice based on what you do want, not what you don’t.
Here’s the bottom line:
Supportive emotional eating is about the experience you want to have, both during and after the meal. It’s a choice you make from a place of connection to the moment, and consideration for the future.
Unsupportive emotional eating is disconnected. It’s automatic and habitual. There’s no connection, no presence, and no honoring yourself. (Definitely no thought of the food hangover that might happen as a result!)
These are two different worlds, both rooted in emotion. But one is way more conducive to a happy relationship with your body and your food.
So what’s the secret to making the most of supportive emotional eating in your life?
Before you make ANY food choice, check in with yourself FIRST. It doesn’t matter where you are. You could be at home on quarantine, back at work, or out for a post-lockdown celebration dinner with friends. Know how you want to feel, and choose your food to support those feelings.
Connect with yourself, and figure out what you want, both physically and emotionally. Then make a food choice that will support how you want to feel, both now and in the immediate future.
Sure, circumstances aren’t always perfect. You might not always have all the food options in the world (especially in the quarantined world!). That’s OK. Just do your best with what you have. This way, food becomes your friend rather than your scapegoat.
That is emotional eating at its finest!
After seeing the difference between the two, I bet it’s easy to see why emotional eating might not be so bad after all! The main key is distinguishing between the two types, staying connected to yourself, and making the most supportive food choice you can in every moment.
I made you a FREE 20-minute training that will show you how to stop overeating while stuck at home. Click the link below and get this training now! You’ll learn how to recognize unsupportive emotional eating. Then you’ll learn how to shift to a space of supportive food choices based on how you want to feel.
You’ll learn tips and tricks that will support you in these times, AND that you can take with you for the rest of your life. It’s a huge win-win!
So grab that training and learn how to take back your power with food while on lockdown and beyond! Get instant access at the link below.
Until next time, stay safe, stay strong, and be well, and we’ll see you in the next post!