Okay, this one is big. If you’re an emotional eater, like I am, disconnecting your emotions and your appetite is one of the hardest things to do. I’ll be totally honest, I’m still working on this. As in, I really need to work on this… Emotional eating is what has derailed every diet I’ve ever tried.
In my life, food isn’t used to sustain and grow. It’s used to soothe, calm, perk up, console, celebrate… you get the idea.
I would give anything to be one of those people who eat to live – the ones who take in food only to keep themselves going. Instead, I love food. I look forward to food. When I plan a party, all I really want to plan is the food. When I have a bad day, I tell myself I deserve something yummy. When I have a good day, I celebrate with a dinner out or special dessert.
It’s a vicious cycle.
So, how does one escape this cycle? Well, I’m still working on that. It’s not easy. Breaking away from something as deep as an emotional connection is measured in baby steps, not leaps and bounds.
And, just so we’re clear, I know I’ve said this before, I’m not an expert by any means. I’m just a girl who’s trying to be the best me I can be.
Forgive. Many people who are overweight have at least one person in their lives they could point to and blame for their weight, health, body image, and general relationship with food. Let it go. Are you right to blame? Maybe. But what good is it doing you? Chances are the emotions you’re hanging onto from childhood are just another excuse to over-indulge.
Purge. If there is chocolate in my house, it will be eaten. Period. One of the keys of not overeating after a bad day is not to have your go-to “feels” foods in the house. If I buy chips for Mr. O, I buy barbecue or salt and vinegar, which I hate. I only make sweets for crowds, never just for the 3 of us. Making it that much harder to indulge can sometimes make a big difference.
Replace. Bad days aren’t going to stop just because you don’t buy Ben & Jerry’s anymore. This is actually where a lot of people (myself included) falter. When we rely solely on will power to get us through tough times, it’s usually not enough. You have to have something else to soothe you, or pep you up, whether it be a walk, yoga, an awesome soundtrack, or someone to talk to.
Talk it out. You don’t have to go it alone. Call a friend, or someone else you know who’s struggling like you are. Go to group meetings, like Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous. And don’t dismiss the potential of therapy. Eating too much junk food may seem like an odd reason to go to therapy, but what you’re really doing is dealing with the emotions.