Emotional Eating, nah I don’t do that…
…and then it suddenly dawned on me, emotional eating was a big part of my life. Mine?!
It seemed overnight I’d gone from one of those girls who use to be able to eat anything, not gain any weight, would look good in a potato sack into an overweight, to someone who took part in emotional eating.
Emotional eating started for me as unhappiness before I separated and divorced from my second husband. I wasn’t happy in the relationship so I ate to comfort myself instead.
Since meeting him I stacked on a massive amount of weight (for me), the most I’d weighed in my entire life other than when I was pregnant! How had that happened?
Initially it was that love sick period of time when you first meet someone and dinners, lunches and socializing is part of the whole scene.
Then when the love drug wore off and we returned to our normal selves, as our comfort levels rose and defenses dropped, those not-so-wonderful traits emerged from both of us. Things that we once thought were cute about each other were now as irritating as sandpaper!
I could make a (long) list of things in my head that I didn’t like and focused on them daily. Not intentionally of course, but like anything, the more you focus on that thing (wanted or not) the more that thing continues to show up in your life!
I took comfort in food to help with the stress and fill the ever growing empty space inside me. This is where my apprenticeship of emotional eating began I kind of let myself go in the whole “who cares about weight” thing.
Emotional eating drove me to seek happiness from my outside world in the form of food and drink, instead of my inside world where all answers hid waiting to be discovered.
My husband and I separated. I was unhappy and so was he; it was inevitable that we would separate when I look back.
After 5 short years of being married I gained 34lbs (15 kgs), not a bad effort for someone who is only 5’3 and use to be able to eat anything without putting on an ounce of weight. Cellulite and fat certainly hadn’t taken up residence either up until this time, so that was a shock to my system too.
What a mess my life was and I was a long way from self love, respect, appreciation and acceptance of myself.
Instead I had feeling of self loathing, anger, ate to soothe myself and the pain I was feeling. Every day I disliked myself due to my weight. I became obsessed with how I looked, felt revolting in my larger clothes and wore loose fitting clothes that were comfortable over my ever growing tummy and thighs.
Then out of the blue I received a phone call from a girlfriend one Friday afternoon. She had a spare ticket to an introductory weekend for a course and would I like to attend?
I said yes I would go, as I had nothing planned anyway. I sat in the room with the 80 other people before the weekend started, I knew I would go on and do the whole program, it was time to face the demons that had plagued me for years.
The program was great and I learnt so much about my behavior and how it developed, how I could change my behavior I didn’t like (emotional eating), together with creating new beliefs and habits.
I learnt about my values (what is important to me) and if my life doesn’t line up according to my values how that effects me and what I can do to improve it if I don’t like it.
Emotional Eating – Make a Decision
One of the biggest “aha moments” for me was how my mind could run my life, IF I let it.
If I reacted to life, rather than respond to life I would continue to love junk food, hate exercise and quickly realized I needed to change my mindset. This included what I thought about myself, what I said to myself and I needed to be aware of negative thoughts and words that constantly flowed out of my mouth!
I learnt how to heal the underlying issues that I was feeling that had turned me to emotional eating. Once I opened my self up to my issues it was like watching a movie on the big screen about my life.
I could see where the triggers were, my reactions and how I handled not only emotional eating, but life in general too. The good thing about that was I could create a different movie about my life, how I wanted it to be and how I wanted to feel instead.
This wasn’t just about positive thinking or saying affirmations every day, this was getting to some core issues deep down within myself, like peeling back an onion layer by layer.
I gave myself permission to reveal and heal, made a decision instead of covering up and festering feelings of shame, I learnt to forgive and accept – both myself and other people that had crossed my path.
Is Emotional Eating Still a Part of My Life?
Do I consider myself “healed” from emotional eating? I’d say no as in much the same way someone who has been sober for 20 years after drinking alcohol to excess.
They still called themselves an alcoholic, even though they haven’t touched a drop in 20 years. They have just learnt to master their emotions and their minds so they don’t use alcohol to drown their pain.
As a self confessed emotional eater I have learnt to notice what the emotions and feelings are that send me in the direction of the fridge or the pantry. I create a different picture with my thoughts, have a bit of a chat to myself, change my focus and drink a glass of water or choose a piece of fruit instead.
Am I perfect? No Way! In fact giving up being perfect was a big part of my emotional eating . Far from perfect and happily confess to that, I no longer see myself and talk about myself as an emotional eater either.
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