Freedom from Emotional Eating


As I was lying in bed one morning I got to thinking about my journey to lose weight and stop eating emotionally. You see, even though those two goals have been very tightly tied together, they were separate in my mind. For a long time, I focused solely on losing weight. I guess I thought the cravings and the desire to eat would magically disappear. They never did. In fact, most of the time the desire grew even stronger. I always tried to lose weight before I tackled why I had the urge to eat in the first place. It never worked because no matter how you slice it, it's a losing battle.

Emotional eating is defined by Google as "an increase in food intake in response to negative emotions" and can be considered a maladaptive strategy used to cope with difficult feelings.

I struggled for a very long time to lose weight and keep it off because of my habit to eat emotionally and unconsciously. What that means is that I used food as a buffer to avoid the feelings that I thought were too painful to feel, or that I wouldn't allow myself to feel. Food became my way to distract from stress, loneliness, boredom, sadness, and even some excitement.

It’s no wonder we turn to food to escape. It’s everywhere. Food is front and center at every event. It’s the main topic. It’s relatively inexpensive, depending what you choose to indulge on, and it’s legal. Nobody is going to get arrested for eating a box of Thin Mints. For many of us, food can very quickly, and easily, become the drug of choice.

I remember going to the Biggest Loser ranch back in 2013. I spent a full week there in hopes to finally tackle my weight loss struggle once and for all. I lost 8lbs the week I was there. They touched on emotional eating. I believe there was one lecture on the topic, if I remember correctly. I was given a card that had different emotions written on it with colorful little circles to identify what emotion I was feeling. I think the idea was to try and help identify the emotion I was feeling in the moment, before I turned to food. I can't really recall, because the exercise got lost on me. It didn't click. For me, it was always too late before I thought about doing the exercise. The damage had been done. I held on to that card and those little circles for a very long time before I finally threw them away. Another failed attempt. I gained that weight back.

I was always looking for a trick to help me stop giving into cravings, and stop turning to food. I wanted a magic solution that would help me end the battle once and for all. I knew I was a stress eater, but I couldn't figure out how to stop. Little did I know that I held the power inside. It was in my thoughts, and the willingness to feel my emotions.

It wasn’t until I started my journey to become a life coach that I recognized the link.

Permanent weight loss, and freedom from food, is not possible if you don't face the thoughts and feelings that create the desire to eat.

Imagine that you can allow cravings without giving in, and then watch them fade away. When there is no restriction, there is no deprivation. That's where the magic happens.Picture yourself knowing that you can go to any social function and not give in to desire, and not feel bad about it. Consider the realization that you can feel every emotion that comes, without the need to distract from it. With all of this comes the very clear understanding that food no longer has power, and that you are in control.

For the first time ever, I can feel that my commitment to my goal is stronger than my desire to eat (or drink) anything that will not help me get there. I don't have to resist anything. I just don't want it. This is huge. It feels really big, and it feels so good.