If you have ever found yourself elbows deep in nutella, inhaling the contents of a family sized bag of dorito’s, or downing a large glass of wine in record time after a stressful day at a work, you are not alone, I know the feeling all too well because I used to do alllllll of these things!!This used to occur to me repeatedly for years and would sabotage all my diet and weight loss attempts. To be honest, I used to think I was over eating and bingeing because I had no will power to stick to my diet, or that the cravings I used to experience was because I was addicted to sugar and just couldn't control myself around food, and then would feel so frustrated and ashamed of myself for not being stricter, and not having enough will power and control to stick to my diet plan like other people could. But never once did I associate any of this with emotional eating.
I honestly thought emotional eating only really happened when you were sad because you had been ‘dumped by your boyfriend’ or ‘got fired from a job’ like I had seen on TV growing up. Little did I realised until I learned all about intuitive eating a couple of years ago that there are so many different emotions which can affect our motivation to eat, which taught me what emotional eating really is!
Oh the relief I felt to finally understand that I was not a failure, not addicted to sugar, and that actually my food choices were just a symptom of my emotional triggers that I was using food to cope with instead of actually recognising and dealing with cause of those emotions!By beginning to listen to my body I gradually started to understand what my emotional triggers for food were really trying to tell me. Eating Nutella was to provide comfort and soothing to replace loneliness when coming home to an empty house after work following the loss of my husband to a brain tumour some years previously. Inhaling crisps was to channel my suppressed anger through my grief by crunching my way through the emotions instead to release them, and downing the large glass of wine was an attempt to escape from the immense anxiety and overwhelm that I did not want to deal with.
As well as learning to recognise my triggers, I was able to then find the causes of the emotions, and learn non food based ways to cope with these feelings, and over time, my auto pilot food based response to my emotions began to reduce, as I started to journal when feeling lonely or talk to a friend or therapist instead of eating Nutella. I began to release anger through finding movement that I loved such as walking in nature, meditating, and baking which brings me great joy and is really therapeutic for me. And to cope with anxiety and overwhelm , instead of drinking wine at the first signs of these feelings, I learned about simple breathing techniques, yoga, and self care strategies to look after myself and process the feelings fully instead of trying to numb them out with food.
By actually recognising and processing your emotions, it opens up so much more understanding of yourself, and really helps with healing the cause of your emotional eating, instead of just treating the symptoms, leading to such a sense of freedom and to empowerment as you realise food no longer controls you anymore, and you do not need to control it either. I also want to reassure you that you don’t have to stop emotional eating all together to cope with your emotions, as eating when emotional is a perfectly response to certain situations in your life, but if we can expand the tool box of choices to cope with food in other ways instead of turning to food every time, it will make a huge difference to your long term physical and emotional health and well being.
Please enjoy this awesome free guide below that I have created for you to work through in your own time, that will help you to understand in more detail what emotional eating is, the common causes, triggers, and a 3 step strategy with solutions to help you find a personalised approach for your emotional eating triggers, to let go of emotional eating from controlling your life for good!
Just click the image below to grab your guide!