I often hear from women that struggle with weight loss, lack of energy, and other digestive issues and I've come to learn that the core issue is that they are struggling with emotional eating. Sometimes, they aren't even aware of it at first which makes their desires to lose weight, gain energy, or resolve their digestive issues almost impossible.
When we are so used to using food to satisfy an emotion or feeling, we are neglecting the real issue and most often, we aren't properly taking care of ourselves emotionally, mentally, spiritually or physically.
Most people feel that emotional eating is a curse and impossible to control and yet, they want to resolved it immediately.
Before we can begin discussing how to deal with emotional eating in a healthy way, it’s important that we understand what is not true about overcoming emotional eating.
4 MYTHS ABOUT ENDING EMOTIONAL EATING
Myth #1 - Emotional Eating is bad.
As much as emotional eating may seem awful and uncontrollable, it is actually a very natural way of coping with life’s challenges.
The reality is that coping mechanisms are essential to keeping us safe and feeling good. Attempts to feel better are actually very healthy and completely normal.
Emotional eating is often associated with negative feelings. For example, eating a whole pizza after a long stressful day. However, emotional eating can also be associated with positive feelings. For example, celebrating a promotion with a cake and a bottle of wine.
Neither of these situations are bad or something to feel shameful about. We are simply eating for pleasure which is actually a biological instinct to feel good and avoid pain.
Tip: Work on changing the way you think about emotional eating. Think of emotional eating as a signal telling you something may be missing in your life. Don't stress over what it is, but just be curious and aware of the situation.
Myth #2 - You need to have willpower & self-control to stop emotional eating.
Today’s society loves to highlight the idea that willpower and self-control is necessary to lose weight or achieve success, but the truth is that it has nothing to do with willpower or self-control.
Eating is a biological instinct and unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), willpower can not control instinct.
For short periods of time it may be possible to power through and control your desire to emotionally eat, but eventually, your instinct will catch up to you and your emotional eating will result in binge-eating and likely, will be a lot worse.
If willpower was simply the answer, do you think we’d be having the obesity crisis that we’re having in our country today?
It’s just not that simple as having willpower and self-control.
Tip: Forgive yourself for not having this so-called "willpower" or "self-control".
Myth #3 - Food is the issue. It’s delicious & everywhere!
I can’t argue with the fact that food is delicious and everywhere, because let’s face it, it is. But the reality is, food is not the issue.
Most people try to deal with emotional eating by obsessing over not eating certain foods. All this does is make you think about food even more and eventually, you end up binge eating way more than you would have if you just had it in the first place.
Tip: Instead of focusing on not emotional eating, it’s important to try to find ways to cope with your emotions and feelings on a daily basis regardless of whether or not you eat that cupcake or bag of chips.
Myth #4 - Replacing emotional eating with “self-care” or distraction is the answer!
Many experts will advise you to do some sort of self-care act instead of grabbing food for comfort. They will say that when you feel the urge to eat something “bad” go for walk outside or call a friend to chat on the phone.
This can work for the short term, but most likely will not work for the long term.
It is so important to practice self-care daily and to stop neglecting your emotions. As I previously mentioned, it’s as equally important to do these activities regardless of whether you also eat your emotions.
When we start really taking care of ourselves we will naturally stop using food for comfort. This will of course take time, but trust me, taking care of yourself is actually quite enjoyable and may even be better than that ice cream sundae.
Tip: Schedule in self-care daily. If you need ideas on what to do for self-care, click here to get my free 30 Day Self-Care Calendar.
Now that you are aware of the myths that exist about emotional eating, hopefully you can see that the reason you are struggling is not your fault. It is a deep rooted issue (which is completely normal) that may take some time to work through, but I can assure you, if I can do it, so can you.