Day 51 - What Is Emotional Eating?
Thursday, October 16, 2014
I struggled this morning to find a good visual to post with this question. I think everybody has their own version of emotional eating, and it can be for all sorts of emotions from happy to sad and everywhere in between.
In today's exercise Linda Spangle suggests making a sign that asks this question:
"is this hunger or a desire to eat?" Then when you want to eat something you pull out the sign and ask yourself this question.
Then she suggests making a list of times, places, situations that can trigger an emotional eating event and look at it and see if there is a pattern when you struggle with emotional eating.
Since I have done this exercise many times it was interesting to see how my emotional eating patterns have changed over the years in accordance to the stress that I have been undergoing during different periods. The one thing that has stayed consistent is that I do emotionally eat when I am under a lot of stress and also when I am in a state of pure happiness. Then there are a few times when I emotionally eat when I am angry and when I am sad. The times that I don't emotionally eat are when I am in an extreme stress or when my days are balanced, not particularly happy or sad.
I think the thing that has helped me most with gaining control over emotional eating is to change how I view stressful situations. Without going into a lot of detail I will just say that I am able to ask myself what am I supposed to be learning from this situation - when I am in a stressful time. And then another coping mechanism that I have learned is to understand that most situations can be resolved without a confrontation. There are still situations where I will automatically turn to food for comfort. When a loved one dies, I like comfort food. And also when we are having a family celebration or holiday I like the traditional foods that we eat. Thank goodness I have also learned that I do not have to stuff myself in order to get the emotional value from eating during these situations.
As a former binger - I still allow myself to eat some of the foods that I used to binge on. (I say former binger, knowing full well that a binge could be just a minute away) There are some foods that I know I just can't keep in the house at all. So it is all a learning process and also takes a lot of practice and success and failure to learn these things about myself.