Why do we run to a certain food every time we feel sad, frustrated, lonely, or even happy?
Many struggle with this the very REAL and RAW issue of emotional eating. Often, it is ingrained in us from an early age. We see it even starting in young children whom are rewarded and even bribed with food. And more often than not, it’s a sugary treat. And then as we age, the situations may differ but the same underlying theme appears.
Most of the time these choices are rooted in an emotion.
Whether we are feeling sad, lonely, anxious, joyful, stressed, scared, worried, rejected, bored, unloved, loved, excited, discouraged, the list goes on…
However, there is only one reason why we should chose the foods we eat and it’s actually quite simple: for nourishment.
I’m not saying that we can’t treat ourselves every once in a while. I think it’s good to include some treats into our diet so we don’t feel like we’re living a dull and boring life. I do have a few guilty pleasures of my own. But I want us to understand why we are choosing certain foods. Some foods just aren’t even worth stuffing into our bodies no matter how we are feeling.
Food will not mend the broken pieces. It will not make you feel better. I guarantee you that the choices you are making in these emotional states will just leave you feeling bloated, tired, irritable, and even more guilty or depressed.
The remedy? It will take time to mend this broken relationship with food but it can be done.
1. Awareness. First, you must realize when you’re making a food choice due to an emotional state.
2. Recognition. Recognize and name the specific emotion. How are you feeling at that moment. What is the emotion behind it? Or maybe you will notice you’re craving something because of a certain situation, stressor, or time of the day.
3. Address. Once you pinpoint the emotion, you can tackle it head-on by taking steps to p.r.o.c.e.s.s. and a.d.d.r.e.s.s. the emotion. This step is critical; if you don’t address the emotion, it will resurface later on.
4. Redirect & Healing. Redirect that negative energy from your food craving into a healing exercise. This may look different to each person. Some may choose to do positive affirmations, prayer, journaling, reflection, or therapy sessions.
To help you in your journey, I’ve created a journal page to uncover the emotions behind your food choices. Keep this in a safe place and document every time an emotionally-charged craving creeps up. This will help you know where to begin in the redirection and healing steps.
It was actually in doing the RESTART® program myself, that I became fully aware of my own “triggers”. When you are in a certain healthy eating challenge such as RESTART®, and your triggers pop up, you can’t turn to the foods that you’re accustomed to. Your emotional eating tendencies will hit you in the face like a ton of bricks– there is no denying them.
If you’re ready for extra support, join me for my next RESTART® class. Self-care and conscious eating are topics we discuss as we complete a three-week REAL food challenge. You will be fully supported by your instructor and fellow classmates with whom you build life-long relationships.
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