For as long as I can remember emotional eating has been a BIG problem for me. Maybe you feel the same. At various times it has seemingly controlled me and bounced me from diet after diet!
For some reason the junk food always seems so appealing when you get that emotional urge…you know, at the end of a long day at work when you feel like you just can’t cope, head for a burger or a serving of chocolate…ahhhhh…that feels better!
The Hidden Reason For Emotional Eating
I think we head for the junk food for a couple of different reasons.
1. Because it’s naughty and we know it
2. Because secretly we’re addicted to the punishment
Of course there’s also the fact that we may have sugar addictions and so forth but we’re talking about the deeper stuff here for a moment.
Allow me to explain how this cycle has often reared it’s ugly head up for me and perhaps you might relate.
Eating Junk Is Naughty
Many of our so called problems especially when they are emotional, tend to come out of our history, I’m a big believer in that. We develop our self esteem, our confidence and our ability to deal with life predominantly from our parents and the people closest to us. The fact that we know junk food is naughty is the point, we are subconsciously rebeling against some of those entrenched values and beliefs, or the negative words and experiences buried deeply ‘back there’.
Logically we know they are not true on one level but we give in. Most of us have gone through our entire lives not knowing how to deal with things effectively, not knowing how to truly love ourselves, and be the person we really want to be.
It’s not really our parents fault but it is a huge let down and something we’ve all got to come to terms with, and work on getting past!
The Emotional Eating Punishment
The worst part about emotional eating for me was always the punishment afterwards. Sure, the added calories may appear on my waistline later, but the self beating is really the problem. Reaching for the burgers or chocolate may provide that instant relief but afterwards comes the guilt, the self loathing, the I’m not good enough, the I can’t stick with anything, and the endless self beating!
You’ve got the neverending voices inside your head that won’t stop. That only drives you to want to eat more food, and that results in a negative loop that you feel stuck in. Can you relate?
Unfortunately the journey to overcome emotional eating is not always easy. We have so many emotional triggers around us all the time and at times when you feel like you’ve beaten the beast, it comes round again to bite you.
Breaking The Pattern
Breaking patterns is never easy. It takes time, effort, and the willingness to see it through. I’ve somewhat broken my pattern but I always have to keep myself in check because it can and does rear it’s ugly head again sometimes. When I first started to break the pattern I really worked on being reflective and becoming aware of what had gotten me to that point in the first place, what were the triggers, why did I feel out of control, why was I hiding behind the emotional eating behaviour, why was I stuck in believing it helped to solve the problem.
Food is a comfort, there’s no doubt about that right? And there are many things in life that lead us to feeling like we need comforting. Stress at work with family in relationships, trauma, financial issues, loneliness, boredom, gosh you name it the list is endless. I think we have to take a look at all those things ansd ask some important questions, at least that’s what I did.
You know…there has to come a time when you say enough is enough and I deserve better than this…for me!
Make The Decision To Stop
I am worth it, so are you! We all are. So there has to come a time when we turn around and say:
‘I am going to love you enough to get past it because I am so sick and tired of feeling like crap’!
I had to change my thinking around. I put my foot down and said: ‘I am not going to spend the rest of my life beating myself up, going around in circles, feeling out of control. I am going to start loving myself, work every day to move forward, and get my life under control’!
Has it worked. Yes but I’m not perfect…
Trust me I have my days but I catch myself alot quicker now and I keep working at it each and every day. I work at creating a better version of myself on many different levels. Sometimes I move forward in baby steps and sometimes I take leaps and bounds. It doesn’t matter how fast it happens as long as it happens right?
Sure…it may seem like I am better than you, or I am stronger than you, and you may be thinking ‘well lucky you that you can just decide, I can’t do that’. Well that’s not true, you can…we are just at different points in the journey, that’s all. There is never any better or worse, there is only where we are in our own journey right now and I believe anyone can change.
Making a commitment to move forward in life has been the key for me. Eating well helps alot. And a focus on self care as a TOP PRIORITY is very important.
Sure it’s work and it’s constant, especially at first because you may slip back like I did several times. But it sure beats living in the shadow of the emotional eating monster. Being stuck in that horrible self beating cycle is no fun at all!
I’m certainly glad I decided to change it and hope you will too!
P.S. What are your experiences with emotional eating? I’d love to know because I know lots of people I talk to feel the same way. Please leave me a comment and let me know 🙂