“Well, when you put it like that –” is the most common response I get from clients during a session.
We talk about what drives them to eat for emotional reasons, and I reflect what they’ve said or use the same words with different emphasis, or I simply ask a question – and they almost recoil.
It’s the moment when they know their logic, reasoning, or justification will no longer serve them. Dang it!
Sometimes when we hear our words – or someone else say them, they don’t make as much sense to us. It can feel like it takes all the fun out of the reasoning, or it can clarify the gap between what we’ve thought and what actually works. It makes things clear, and you can then decide what you want to do with it. When you put it like that, the triggers may be easier to overcome.
Triggers of Emotional Eating
With emotional eating, there is always an emotional trigger. Frustration, anger, hurt, loneliness, abandonment. It may be an experience or something someone says; it could be a disappointment or an unexpected turn; or it could be a change of plan that we’re not happy about. The feeling pops up.
It’s not the feeling that is so troublesome, it’s what we then start thinking about that feeling. We judge it as good or bad, happy or sad, helpful or awful – and away we go down our well-worn paths of beating up on ourselves, which doesn’t help the situation, does it?
So much of our emotional eating starts with what we’re thinking amidst the situation. If we challenge that thinking and find a different way to put it, it puts a different spin on how we react, how we feel, and how we learn to view it. We just have to get the thoughts out of our heads (and usual ways of thinking about it) so we can take it apart and choose how to respond.
The Pandemic has put us all in a weird place – so much unknown, so much is different, so many events and the normal gatherings either canceled or altered. It’s been a YEAR of triggers, hasn’t it? Now Halloween is days away, and then come the holidays – a wonderful time of year, but seriously, a time for a lot of emotional stuff to kick up.
Registration is now open for my pop-up group challenge set for the 10th-12th of November, Emotional Eating Strategies: Holiday Edition. It’s a free event, so please join me. Register here: challenge.packyourownbag.com We’ll talk through some strategies, myths, and practical ways to get through the food fests without the average 7-10 pound weight gain. Maybe you can hit your New Year with a different resolution.