Updated: Jun 7, 2019
I found myself in a state of almost psychosis, standing in the fridge or pantry, chowing down on food with my hands. It’s almost animalistic. Or grabbing that block or chocolate or bag of chips, sitting in front of the telly and before I know it, it’s all gone. I don’t remember tasting it.
Maybe this has happened to you. It happened to me many times.
My earliest memories are when I was a child, sneaking into the chocolate chips. Other times I remember coming home from an unsatisfying day at school and just eating everything in sight. As an adult, I would have a stressful day at work or get some bad news, be on my period (or just about) and go into these states. I recognise that it’s mostly tied to my emotions.
Over the last few years I’ve really become aware of this. I think when I started looking at changing other parts of my lifestyle, some things become glaringly obvious. It’s not a comfortable feeling to know there’s a problem, but not be sure what to do about it. Especially something like this where we feel out of control.
Here are my 2 major tips to minimise the damage done by emotional eating:
1) Awareness is Key
You will be able to feel that urge to eat everything. Notice the triggers when this happens – was it seeing a certain person, being in a stressful place or situation, etc. Write them down if you like.
Next is to feel the pain. I know you may not want to, or feel you can’t (because you don’t want to break down in front of family or kids) but it’s important that you feel this now. Or at the very least, ASAP. Those people that are all about that “positive life” are often shoving down any negative feelings, which can be an unhealthy form of avoidance. It’s okay to feel shitty and have a meltdown. I always say to “go and visit those feelings, but don’t unpack your bags and stay”. We’re all big people now, and making that deal with ourselves is a great step to manage this.
While you’re visiting, figure out the root of the problem. Where’s all this coming from? It might not be the way your boss spoke to you; that it made you feel childish and stupid. Now why would you feel childish and stupid? Generally these are tied to limiting beliefs we’ve had throughout our lives. Many of these are based on your perception of a memory. Our memories are always clouded by the perception we had during that time the memory was made. It’s time to let that go. Detach from that belief because it’s not true. Your boss could just be a jackass, or he/she was having some trouble at home and was in a bad mood.
The other thing that could be happening is that you’re eating to fill a void. Try to figure out what’s missing in your life; come up with an action plan to help. If you haven’t had enough socialising, make a date with a friend. If you’re career isn’t satisfying your creative side, start a new hobby to let those creative juices flow. After you’ve come up with a plan and started putting it into motion, write a list of all the good things you have in your life.
After you’ve done these awareness things, you still might want to eat. My suggestion is to plan when and what you’ll eat next. Make it delicious and the things that you’re craving. Because there’s no point in having cacao nibs when you want Lindt chocolate. You will end up consuming 3 times the amount of calories trying to satisfy the craving healthily, than if you’d just had the Lindt.
Until that moment when you can eat and enjoy mindfully, distract yourself any way you can. I suggest getting out of the house or anywhere there’s food. Go for a walk, call your mum, have a shower.
Alright babes, that’s it from me. I won’t lie; Binge or emotional eating is a hard habit to break, especially because it’s so tied to emotions. But if you practise these tips, it will become easier and you will become more in tune with yourself.
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