You feel out of control. Worried. Overwhelmed.
You open the refrigerator door and rummage through, looking for that one “treat” that will make this whole day a little more bearable.
Something that will quiet down the voices. Stop the waves of confusion. Make you feel calm again.
You eat, hoping to stop the flow of feelings. To ground yourself in the moment.
Eating has become complicated, a fully controlled (and out of control) routine. Then come the feelings. The excuses. The promises. The hidden box of chocolates you devour in secret.
In the moments you reach for that bag of chips or the bowl of ice cream, it’s not a physical need you seek to satisfy. It’s a deep, dark emptiness that haunts you that you wish would just somehow go away.
The food provides a momentary comfort . It grants relief.
You’ve tried to stop this “bad” habit on your own. You’ve tried everything.
You’ve done the diets. Sworn off junk food. Banned fats, and gone gluten-free. You’ve cleared the pantry and thrown out all the “bad” food.
You’ve read the books, listened to the webinars, and followed the experts’ advice.
And then, out of the blue, something happens, and despite everything, you find yourself in that same familiar place again, clutching that pint of ice cream like it’s the only thing that can pull you out of the darkness.
A terrifying thought comes into your mind.
Maybe I’m weak. I lack will power. Why does this keep happening to me? If I was stronger, this wouldn’t be happening.
You are not weak.
What’s happening to you isn’t a sign or a defect in your character.
I get it! I’ve been where you are.
I used to eat a pint ( or even 2!) of ice cream followed by an entire bag of cookies, and all in one sitting.
And then, I’d starve myself. I’d swear over and over again that tomorrow, I’ll stop…..I’ll never do this again! But then, just a few short days or weeks later, (sometimes even just a few hours later), I’d find myself sneaking back into the freezer…. With my spoon in the ice cream yet one more time…. and with no idea how I got there.
I felt so confused and guilty and mad at myself, and I could not figure out what was wrong with me!!! I was so disciplined in other areas of my life. Why couldn’t I control this?
I was training to be a professional dancer and would spend hours practicing, rehearsing, taking classes every single day. I had no problem being disciplined there.
I worked relentlessly. I was a great student. And on the surface, I appeared perfectly happy.
However, no one knew about the demons lurking inside me….my constant worrying about whether I was good enough…Will they like me?…Did I say the right thing? …What will happen if?….You know, those thoughts.
Food gave me comfort, momentary relief, a taste of peace…. but followed always by overwhelming feelings of guilt.
I was too ashamed to tell anyone. To reveal this failing.
It shouldn’t be this difficult, right? It should be easy to eat just one bowl, not the whole pint of ice cream.
One cookie, not the entire box!
When you reach for food to fill an emotional need, it’s not the same as eating a meal to satisfy your physical hunger.
You can’t stop because unlike the physical hunger, the emotional hunger takes a lot more than a few cookies to satisfy.
I couldn’t stop because the eating was NOT about hunger, it was always about something else.
The hidden reasons.
It ran much deeper than food and I can bet yours does too.
I grew up in a family where every bite of food that I took was noticed. My father carefully monitored MY intake, making constant comments about what I ate. I felt like I was always under a microscope.
My mother, on the other hand, used food to nurture. We’d go to Friday night dinners at my Grandmother’s house and the table would be laden with all sorts of food. Not eating until you cleaned your plate was a sign of disrespect.
I experienced a constant, consistent flow of mixed messages.
“You eat too little. You eat too much. Have another cookie. Put that down, you’ve already had a slice.”
Instead of being nourishing, meal times became a stressful test I couldn’t pass. I dreaded sitting down to meals knowing that whatever I did would be noted, noticed and judged.
And so I started hating food. Mealtime was just another opportunity to feel like a failure.
As you can guess, this began an unhealthy relationship with food that would last for years. Food became both the poison and the reward.
How did your emotional eating habits begin?
We learn how to eat and think about food at a very young age. As children, we watch very closely our parents, siblings, and the people we spend the most time with, and we UNconsciously adopt their attitudes, ideas, and behaviors.
As we grow up, those become ingrained habits, ones we no longer think about consciously.
To understand emotional eating, we have to go back in time.
Maybe you watched your mother overeat when she was stressed or angry, and you picked up the same habit subconsciously. Maybe you watched your father count portions.
Maybe you grew up in a household where food was scarce and so you developed a strong fear of never getting enough. Now, you find yourself eating even when you aren’t hungry – “just in case”… to keep the fear at bay.
Or maybe you were given a treat as a reward for being “good” or after passing tests in school, and now as an adult, with your constantly increasing workload, you find yourself “treating” yourself more and more.
It could even have been later on in your life. Maybe you were bedridden from illness or injury, or chronic pain, and your only source of comfort was food.
Whatever your reason, the way we eat and think and feel about food is deeply rooted in our past experiences.
Those experiences formed beliefs….which lead to choices…which became habits. Those habits become the patterns that make up your entire life!
At some point in your life, perhaps you began using food as a coping mechanism. As a way to cover up your feelings of disappointment, rejection or abandonment.
Was food a way to try and sooth your fear, or quelch your anger?
Perhaps eating that cinnamon roll helps you keep quiet rather than risk being criticized dare you express your opinion or ask for what you need or want?
Does food bring you comfort, or is it a way to punish yourself, or even perhaps an attempt at controlling other people?
If so, that’s why dieting, fasting, cleansing, and diet pills,…..
going Vegan or Paleo… reading all the best “foodie” books, following “healthy” recipes and meal plans, have NOT been able to help you.
To heal, you have to get down to the root. The real reason you are eating in the first place.
What’s your relationship with food based on? What’s your motivation for eating just one more piece? How does eating make you feel? What hidden purpose does it serve?
Notice the first thoughts that come into your mind as you read these questions.
To heal from emotional eating you have to recognize the real reasons that drive your relationship with food.
You have to get honest. You have to Be Open. Become Willing…..
Willing to feel….
Once I became willing…. I was able to finally get the help I needed and recognize what my real reasons for eating were all about.
And I began to heal from the inside…out.
I was able to finally heal the many “hurts” of my past, and to stop “feeding” them and keeping them alive.
I stopped punishing myself for never being perfect.
I began to discover the real me and accept myself exactly the way I am, and as a result, a healthier relationship with food developed easily, naturally, without forcing.
It had nothing to do with willpower, discipline, or dieting, and I threw away the scale for good!
Ask yourself right now….
Who or what are you protecting yourself from?
When you eat food to seek comfort, what are you really seeking to guard against?
Who or what might you be trying to hide from?
What is hidden inside yourself that you don’t want to look at?
What are you afraid to feel?
Those are tough questions. Hard questions. They’ll probably bring up painful emotions and unpleasant memories.
In order to heal, you must learn to feel.
You must look at yourself and your life with your eyes wide open.
You must speak your truth to someone you can trust who won’t judge you for it.
We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it, receive its’ important lessons, and finally let it go so that the past no longer rules us.
The choices we make today create our future life. You can keep on repeating Undesirable habits that come from UNconscious choices …OR, you can start today making new choices that lead to health, happiness, and peace. The choice is yours.
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Discover the deeper, hidden reasons that lie UNDERNEATH the physical symptoms of digestive issues, food allergies and sensitivities and what to do about this important area of your health.
Sending You Love,