Overcoming emotional eating

I wonder if you can relate to any of the following:

  • turning to the snack cupboard when feeling upset
  • eating to deal with stress
  • eating because you’re feeling bored

Emotional eating relates to when food is eaten to manage emotions and if you can relate to this, you’re truly not alone. When I was bulimic and even ended up in an eating disorder unit for 6 weeks because of it, I would consume 1,000s of calories in a very short amount of time. It would usually be food that was high in fat and easy to swallow, and just seemed to fill a hole. I mean, filling that emotional space inside me with food provided that immediate ‘fix’ and felt easier than talking.

So, I guess I thought I’d share my advice purely as someone who’s truly been there:

First, learn to recognise if you are an emotional eater. Once you know, you can then start to move away from it but accepting this can be a hard step in itself, can’t it?

Second, explore what’s leading to it. As I alluded to above, there’s something going on beneath. It may be that you’re unhappy with relationships, your past, the way you see yourself, how life is panning out for you, depression and a host of other reasons. But perhaps grab a journal and write ‘from your heart’ to explore what’s at the crux of how you’re feeling.

Third, find ways of responding to the underlying reason. Yes, you can turn to food if you’re unhappy about what’s happening between you and your friends or turn to food if you’re stressed about work. But food is almost like something you can paper over the cracks with as a temporary fix….but the crack is still there. There may be huge issues at work or with relationships but it’s about dealing with those head on if possible rather than turn to food. Sometimes, we can’t change things…but keep reading! You’ll see why ❤

Fourth, develop a better relationship with food. For decades, I developed a numbness when I ate. I wasn’t aware of what I was eating. The food just kept going in without touching the sides. But I’m now mindful about eating and if I get peckish when I don’t think I should be, I drink water in case I’m actually thirsty or tell myself to wait 30 minutes to see if I’m still hungry. I now take my time eating a meal and really consider every forkful. I’ve heard of some people finding it helps to put the fork down between mouthfuls.

Last week was the first time in 6 months where I almost slipped in my new lifestyle because I’ve a lot of stress here at home being a carer. I don’t know how long our son will be alive for so, yes, I can’t tell you how much I’m hurting right now. But I gave myself a good talking to. You see, I can’t control what’s happening here at home but I can control how I’m looking after myself. There’s no point me feeling rubbish about our situation here AND feeling rubbish that I ate food I didn’t really want. It’s okay to not always be smiley but talk. Talk about how you’re feeling. Find kinder ways of dealing with emotions. I’m discovering that walking for miles really clears my head but more about that another time…

I’ll be back Monday with my next weigh-in, guys, as well as news of some upcoming blogs. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Love Erika xx

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