I may be a super health fanatic fitness guru, but I’m also totally an emotional eater. I just saw this Weight Watchers commercial, and felt like it was specifically speaking to me.
Sometimes I like to feel victimized. In the past couple weeks since of 2015, I have blamed our consumption-based holiday traditions for my current insulin rollercoaster. It started with a spike of Halloween candy binging, and crashed with colder weather blues in early November, then a bumpy ride of holiday parties and family festivities. From October 31st until the ball dropped on the New Year was two solid months of candy and feasting. Now I’m basking in a refreshing renewal feeling with New Year’s resolutions to treat my body better this time around the sun.
Now that this year’s off and running, I think back on how I indulged over the last few months, and I am ready to let go of my eating victim story. The holiday party food was less healthy than my average diet, but it’s not really the food that was to blame. It’s the behavior that drives me: emotional eating.
When I felt nervous about what my cousins would say about my outfit, I ate the cheese and crackers.
When I dreaded my Aunt asking about my lack of a boyfriend again this year, I made a b-line for a second serving of shrimp salad.
When I felt grief about my grandmother dragging her oxygen cord around the house, I agreed to a slice of creamy coconut cake.
Every time I reach for food to make me feel better – it works. From the first bite to the food coma, I do feel better. It’s afterward that I feel guilty and regretful about my emotional eating behavior.
The holidays were helpful this year – they brought my behavior to light. With one emotionally triggering event after another, I really noticed the correlation between my intense emotions and outrageous overeating. But the behavior doesn’t really stop by making a New Year’s resolution. Emotional triggers are present year round, and affect a lot of people. Harvard even released a study in 2012 that linked stress to eating.
I am clearly still working with this issue for myself, not to mention for my clients. It seems that the key to healing this behavior is in the story we tell ourselves about it. When I tell myself that I am bad and fat and out of control – it doesn’t help at all – probably actually makes it worse. But when I remind myself that the reason I am eating my feelings is because I want to feel better – I feel so much more empowered. The truth is – when I’m emotionally triggered – I WANT TO FEEL BETTER!
So – who’s with me here? Can you relate to my emotional eating behavior? What do you do to feel better when you feel emotionally triggered? Your suggestions are totally appreciated – please post your strategies and suggestions in the comments. Let’s start a dialogue about this!