Updated: Apr 10
These past couple of weeks I've been finding ways to create balance for myself and not gravitate to emotional eating. Honoring how I am feeling, taking each day at a time and finding healthier ways to cope with my emotions after I've sat with them.
A few things about my relationship with food:
I am an emotional eater. What emotional eating looks like for me is either not eating at all or eating 5 bags of chips. Very rarely is there an in between when I allow myself to use eating as a way to cope with stress or my emotions.
Just because you are an emotional eater does not mean you have to engage in emotional eating to cope with your feelings. When we cope, we tend to use what is familiar to us. Practicing new coping skills regularly allows us to use healthier coping skills in replace of unhealthy ones.
Try some of these approaches if you want to gain more power and control over your relationship with food and not yield to emotional eating as a coping skill.
Use your interests, hobbies, and things you find joy in to find new coping skills. The key here is to do these things regularly when you DON'T need them. This could be picking up a new hobby, journaling, or taking a walk. As I mentioned earlier, we tend to use the coping skills that are most familiar to us if we are in crisis or under stress. For example, if I know running makes me feel better, but I don't take the time to make running part of my routine; in a moment of stress, I certainly am going to go for the pint of cookies and cream ice cream ice cream over going for a run. As your healthier coping skills become routine, when life gets hard, you will have options at your disposal to reach for versus turning to food.
Use mindfulness to ground yourself when you feel an urge to eat emotionally. Create balance for yourself and reset your mind to one, figure out if you are actually hungry and two, understand what is causing you to want to eat emotionally. There is absolutely nothing wrong with comfort food...until it becomes a problem that you is beyond your control. Learn to indulge in great food when you actually just have a taste for it versus using it to cope. Know your boundaries with food and create balance.
Find a therapist to support you discover the root to your emotional eating patterns. Our behaviors are learned. Once we are aware how and when these behaviors developed, we are better prepared to take steps to healing it all together and repair our relationship with food.