My old habit of emotional eating is not only about comfort, it's also about control.
I've known for a while now that somewhere along the way food became my friend. The friend who didn't judge. The friend who didn't disappoint. Food became comfort, like a big hug. It soothed me when I was sad, calmed me when I was stressed, and entertained me when I was bored. I've been able to conquer this. I've come a really long way, and I’m still learning.
I recently discovered another layer to this relationship. What I realized is that, for me, the act of eating serves as a source of control. Eating makes me feel like I have the wheel when everything else seems to be falling apart. This has been an eye-opening revelation.
Things went sideways a couple weeks ago. Garret has been handling a critical situation at the office. He’s been working around the clock with his colleagues. It's been a really big deal. So, I kicked into single mom mode. This is nothing new for us. He travels often, so it's something we're used to. It shouldn’t have been a big deal, but it was (still is). It’s continued for an extended period of time. It’s not something we were prepared for. I wasn't ready for what this would trigger.
It hit me hard that we are so far away. I miss my people. I can’t take the kids to my mom’s house for dinner. There’s nobody close by to stop over and hang out. I tell myself there’s nowhere to go, and nobody to see, because nothing is familiar. I’m completely out of my comfort zone in my life, and it sucks!
Everything felt like it was upside down. As the sadness, and loneliness started to sink in I felt like I was losing control in my own environment. I couldn't tell when things would get back to normal, or if they would. That’s when it happened. I went for the cookies.
I was fully conscious. I went to the kitchen. I grabbed the chocolate chip cookies that I made the night before. I started stuffing them in my face. I was fully aware. I knew exactly what I was doing. I didn’t stop. I stood there and kept eating the cookies. In that moment, I felt like I had control. I felt like everything was going to be okay. I ate cookies in an attempt to regain control, thinking I was out of control to begin with. Holy crap!
I’m blown away by this discovery. Going back through events in my life I can see where I’ve done this before. I’m not even mad at myself about the cookies. I’m more excited that I reached a deeper layer of my old habit. I cracked another piece of this code.
In the last year, I can count on one hand how many times I have emotionally binged.
That’s a huge accomplishment that I am very proud of.
I’m learning about myself, and getting to know my triggers.
I’m acknowledging my emotions, and letting myself feel them instead of trying to numb them. I don’t blame the cookies. I don’t blame myself.
I’m not fighting this. I'm not beating myself up, or restricting myself from anything. Instead, I’m coming at this from a place of love. I'm giving myself space to unravel what happened, and understand why. I'm offering myself compassion. I forgive myself for the years of neglect. This is how emotional eating will end for good. It is a permanent shift. It feels so much better. Awareness is key, and there’s no going back.