Unravel Emotional Eating
Not that it doesn’t deserve it – emotional eating can wreak havoc on our healthy living goals – but when you think about it, it’s a strategy for dealing with complicated and overwhelming emotions in a way that makes them manageable.
Without getting overly clinical here, we all have emotional needs that sometimes go unmet. Often, unmet childhood needs carry forward into our adult lives, but by adulthood we’ve learned to mask them and cope with their absence.
Because I understand emotional eating from the inside out, I have nothing but compassion for people who suffer from it. Rather than judging people who eat emotionally (we get enough of this already, don’t you think?) I offer real-life understanding and solutions. I have written about emotional eating extensively before, and for the purposes of the “10-Week, 10-Pound Challenge” I will just skim the surface of this very broad subject.
Here’s the Week 8 lineup:
Monday: Unravel Emotional Eating
Tuesday: “Try-It Tuesday”: Childhood Throwback
Wednesday: Denial and Fear: What’s Holding You Back?
Thursday: Hopelessness and Shame: Weapons You Use Against Yourself
Friday: Podcast of Week 8 action items and answers to “Ask Marilyn” questions
Most emotional eaters are highly functional – often very successful – people who, for a variety of reasons, use food inappropriately.
In fact, using food for reasons other than physical hunger is so accepted it elicits more of a “duh!” reaction. We eat for comfort, solace, entertainment, as a stress-reliever, and for about a billion other reasons.
“Hmmmmm, what sounds good?” you ask yourself, as you stand in front of the vending machine at work.
“I feel like ice cream!” you think as you see Baskin Robbins out the car window.
Even the language we use to describe hunger is full of emotional cues, not physical ones.
More than any other reason, stress probably is the number one culprit for driving us to food for reasons other than hunger. Or maybe it starts as hunger, but the foods we reach for are those familiar, fattening favorites that soothe not just our hunger pangs but also our need to be comforted.
When I said at the outset that emotional eating gets a bad rap what I meant was just this: we lead hectic lives that are filled with responsibilities and obligations we must meet. Most of us are trying very hard to meet all of those responsibilities, but it takes a toll. Sometimes we’re so stressed out and overwhelmed that we turn that pain in on ourselves.
Let’s be clear here: we’re not gambling away the mortgage money. Emotional eating is not a character flaw.
People who are emotional eaters tend to be extremely responsible, deeply devoted people who just have difficulty asserting their own needs in the face of all those pressing demands that they’re faced with.
It’s totally understandable.
But that coping mechanism comes at a very high price.
Can you lose ten pounds in ten weeks without dealing with emotional eating? Yes. Will you keep those ten pounds off permanently if you don’t? Depends. If emotional eating is something you struggle with, then no, probably not.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. You can learn to manage these challenges. I have, and I can show you how to do it too.
C’mon, we got this!