When do we eat for emotional reasons?
Stress ranks high on the list, but also when we feel sad, lonely, frustrated, angry, and even happy as we feast to celebrate.
From birth, we were soothed by putting something in our mouths, and children move on to their thumbs or biting their nails. When that’s frowned upon, we then pick up candy or a doughnut, and it works even if it blows our calorie count. We’re seldom taught how to work through those emotions, so we manage them or distract ourselves and quickly learn to run away from them by stuffing them down and following them with a food chaser.
The problem is: They come back. With a vengeance. We cannot consume our feelings with a pizza or ice cream or even low-calorie/fat/carb treats. They are a significant part of our inner guidance system. When we try to stuff them down or run away to ignore them, they go inward and fester. Being denied a hearing strengthens the hold they have on our hearts. Yet we are taught to stifle those feelings, manage in the moment, and just get on with it. And, that creates anger, depression, food disorders, control issues, emotional eating, etc., etc., etc.
I heard a water alarm under our kitchen sink. I’d moved it looking for something, and I’d failed to put it back where it was most needed. Had the alarm been in place, there would have been a few drops on the floor, but now, there was a puddle. The rust around the nut holding the faucet in place indicated the problem wasn’t new. Unbeknownst to us, it had been leaking for a while—just a little, but the leak had now reached a point of an impending flood if we didn’t fix it immediately. The alarm saved us a lot of time and money.
Our feelings are that alert system. Paying attention to the feelings that drive you to food for comfort or stress relief disarms them. Ignoring them reinforces them and creates a strong drive to get what we need in some other way – like a moment of pleasure and comfort from your go-to food.
Sometimes you don’t feel you really have time to deal with them. Okay, that’s fair. Will you allow time later?
What if you simply take 30 seconds to just let it be there?
You don’t have to fix it.
You don’t have to stuff it down.
Simply notice. Take a deep breath and acknowledge the feeling.
Sometimes that’s all it really needs. Once you acknowledge the feeling, your creative mind begins to look for solutions. Your inner wisdom will find something that will help you – without adding to your waistline.
What’s driving you to food? What stuff would benefit from you facing it?
If you have a hard time finding that, let’s chat. Sometimes one good conversation makes all the difference.