Have you ever found yourself hurrying to the nearest bakery or ice cream shop stressed\angry? Felt pretty good after the first few bites – an immediate change of mood huh?
Welcome to the club!
A lot of people around the world experience “Emotional Eating” and not even aware of it.
To understand what “emotional eating” actually is, we have to start with the basics: the mechanism of “Pleasure and Pain”.
We were all programmed to seek pleasure and avoid pain. It’s the most primitive part of the human nervous system.
So, when we eat, we are seeking the pleasure of food, and we are avoiding the pain of hunger.
If you look around you, when newborns cry for no apparent reason, parents and society often use food as a “pacifier” to soothe them, calm them down, make them quiet or fall asleep.
With time we developed the same association – to stop crying (i.e, stop the pain), have something to eat!
This was the way we were conditioned to deal with the pain and cover what we truly feel and experience.
Emotional eating can arise out of a sudden.
It is usually related to an event that causes us some emotional pain. It feels like a craving, when desiring for particular foods, eating a lot more than usual and not feeling completely full or satisfied no matter the amount.
We can be more aware of any pattern of emotional eating by asking ourselves these simple questions: 1) Why and what am I eating? 2) Does this food support my vitality? 3) How do I feel before, meanwhile and after I eat? 4) Am I feeling in alignment with my body? 5) Do I lie or hide about what I eat or the amount I eat?
Why work with emotional eating?
By becoming aware of its effects, and how it doesn’t really help to “get rid” of the pain (only for a short while), we start to look for another alternative to deal with our pain, once and for all.
The main principle for Coping with negative feelings is to stretch our pain threshold.
This will allow for a space to contain our feelings without the need of avoiding or covering them, rather than letting them just be..
We can meditate, do physical exercise, create artwork to express it, etc..
Practice when we don’t need it (when not under emotional turmoil), so when we need it- we can use it!
Especially when facing challenges such as feeling “down”, stressed or angry.
These are the moments to put it into use.
Coping with the cycle of craving could be super challenging!
Whatever you experience while going through this process, remember:
THERE IS NO USE TO FEEL SHAME OR GUILT.
IT WILL NOT SUPPORT THE PROCESS AND WILL SIMPLY CREATE MORE FRUSTRATION AND AVERSION TO WHAT IS.