If you are reading this, you probably have a love/hate relationship with food. It can be a push pull relationship that takes you to your highest highs and lowest lows! If you are anything like I was in the height of my battle with emotional eating, you probably spend a fair amount of time trying to talk yourself out of eating something and then, inevitably, shaming yourself when you succumb to temptation. When you know what to do, but can’t make yourself follow through, it can be so frustrating! You begin to feel broken, lazy, and a lot of other self-deprecating adjectives.
Why is change so incredibly hard?? The wiring that takes place in our brain becomes so ingrained after years of engaging in the same repetitive activities. Think about it. If you had the same job for 10 years and drove the same way to work each day for 10 years, you would likely head in that direction automatically if you started a new job because that is what you are conditioned to do.
Emotional eating provides the same conditioning. If since I was a child I ate every time I felt an uncomfortable emotion, it would be difficult to do anything different in adulthood. It is like trying to teach yourself to write or eat with your non-dominant hand. You have been doing it this way for so many years, you don’t remember a time before you did it this way.
So, what can you do differently? First, find a professional to help you untangle any difficult emotional experiences that may have created or continue to contribute to your relationship with food. Next, get cozy with your emotions. If you stop to think about it, emotions can’t hurt you. Sure, they can feel awful, but they can’t actually hurt you. They are actually very useful because they are trying to tell you something. When you don’t pay attention, those emotions can get more intense and come out in unintended ways. Once you start listening and actually feeling them, the intensity dramatically decreases.