EP. 39- EMOTIONAL EATERS are the BEST PEOPLE. How to USE your emotional eating TO STOP emotional eating.
Emotional eaters are the best people. I know what you’re thinking when I say that – “Say what?! That’s crazy.” I know it sounds crazy because emotional eating makes you feel ashamed, embarrassed, angry, even stupid that you continue to do this to yourself over and over again. But really, you’re an amazing person and YOU don’t even know it yet.
I get it. I was an emotional eater. I was stuck there for over 20 years, in a cycle of sabotaging myself from the thing I wanted the most. I used to think I was broken and asked myself: why do I keep doing this to myself? I haven’t shared this before because I felt embarrassed but now, I feel totally comfortable talking about it. I know there’s nothing wrong with me and there’s NOTHING wrong with you. I’m passionate about discussing it because I want to equip you with new ways to think about emotional eating.
So why are emotional eaters so great? Because you feel things so intensely – sadness, happiness, anticipation, loneliness, exhaustion, boredom, stress. You feel so intensely because you care! Feeling intensely is the best gift too because those feelings are a little red flag, your body telling you “Hey, something is going on!” And in those moments, the only thing you can think of is to help satisfy you is food.
Maybe you’re like me. During the day, I would be so healthy and on top of my diet. But during the evenings, when I was by myself, I would spiral out of control. I would keep eating, eating, eating and I wasn’t even liking it. Already with regret and full, I would keep eating until I felt physically uncomfortable. I would wake up the next day filled with guilt, regret and embarrassment.
I’ve noticed this same pattern with my clients, emotional eating happens most often during the end of the day and on weekends. It’s so much easier to have a delicious distraction than sitting with your feelings. You know this exact feeling: it’s the end of the day, you’re stewing in your emotions, reflecting on your day, feeling the pressure of your life and you want to open that bottle of wine. Pop that bag of popcorn. Grab that chocolate bag. So let’s stop here for a second.
This is my strategy for you. Hold on and pause for 30 minutes.
Ask yourself: What am I feeling right now? What do I actually need?
The strong urge you feel to eat at the end of the day has nothing to do with hunger, it has to do with your emotional needs. When you feel this urge, you CAN handle it. There’s nothing wrong with you.
Eating when you feel emotions creeping up doesn’t fix anything and leads to unwanted consequences of eating keep you stuck. You might have tried different diet plans, counting calories, points, macros but nothing gets to the core issue of emotional eating. No matter how fantastic the plan is, you have to find a way to manage your thoughts and feelings that keep you emotionally eating. Addressing your thoughts and feelings is what drives your actions! What you need is a tool to keep in check with your emotions. Being conscious of your mind, your thought patterns, your emotions will help you address and reset the pattern of emotional eating you’ve reinforced.
So when you feel the urge to eat instead for 30 minutes, pause. Ask yourself:
How do I feel right now?
What am I feeling?
What do I need?
Start to think of these emotional eating urges as a gift that prompt you to really take care of yourself. Interrupt this pattern you’ve been reinforcing for years and years, disrupting this pattern by not ignoring your emotions. If after 30 minutes, if you still want to pop open the bottle of wine, popcorn? That’s okay! You’re still making progress because now you’re more aware of your feelings and building a tolerance.
These feelings will not stop happening – this is the package of being a human! But now you’re building a skill to remain conscientious of your emotions instead of feeding your urge to emotionally eat. You will disrupt this pattern and have different results. When you can manage your feelings, you can manage anything!
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