When it comes to emotional eating, why is one cookie, one candy, one brownie never enough? You know the struggle well. “I’ve been good, so I’ll just have one”. “It’s been a long day. I’ll just have one”. Both of these scenarios have something in common. The message that precedes the idea of just having one is emotional. In AA, alcoholics learn that one is too many and a million is not enough. Nice idea in theory, but when it comes to food, it just isn’t realistic or healthy to restrict yourself by not allowing certain foods. That definitely sets you up for a million not being enough! Two things are at play here.
One, deprivation sets us up for binge eating. Nearly 100% of the time. It is not a matter of if, but when. I will guarantee if you tell yourself you can’t have a certain food, you will binge on it. So what do you do if there are foods that legitimately make you feel bad? Eat them anyway? No. In that case, play the tape through. Remind your brain how your body felt the last time you ate a certain food item. Choosing not to eat something is much different than the defiance that tends to come with the word “can’t”.
The second piece revolves around emotion itself. If hunger is not the problem, food is not the solution. Let me repeat that. If HUNGER is not the problem, food is not the solution! Food has a very specific role in our wellbeing, nourishment. Food from an evolutionary perspective is meant to be fuel. We have altered it to the point that the vast majority of what the average American eats cannot be considered nourishing or fuel. First, deal with the emotion. What are you feeling? This is a hard one for most people because food has become a substitute for feeling any emotion. Once you identify the emotion, identify why you are feeling it. This problem can never be solved with a cupcake or cookie. Temporarily, you may feel numb or forget about the issue at hand, but it won’t remain that way for long and you will still have to address it at some point unless you keep eating.
To learn how to address both of these triggers for emotional eating, give us a call. We can get down to the root of the issue quickly and begin the healing process!1616