I just wanted to know, have you ever felt sort of angry or irritated doing something, feeling like you’re doing something so great and then you feel super depleted and end up eating to soothe yourself? So that’s what I’m going to be talking about today. It’s all about emotional eating and boundaries. With a lot of emotional eaters, it’s really hard to uphold our boundaries. We tend to not realize we have boundaries and then we over give and exhaust ourselves and then turn to food to soothe ourselves.
So I’m going to describe a little bit about boundaries. So boundaries are really our boundaries are our values, the things that help keep us feeling good. They help distinguish us from another person. So they are pretty unique to each person and they make sure that we are not overexerting ourselves or giving too much, that we’re always taking care of ourselves. So, for instance, a boundary could be I like vanilla ice cream and someone else likes chocolate ice cream.
Boundaries are also not rigid. They can be flexible. For example, I go to bed every night at 9:00 p.m., but then once in a while I go to bed at 11:00. So most of the time we are sticking to our boundaries. They’re flexible and we just adjust depending on the situation. So depending on our energy or our mood, we adjust our boundaries. For instance, visiting a friend, you say, I’m going to stay for two hours and if you need to leave after an hour, you leave after an hour or you don’t stay for the whole day and deplete yourself.
Giving out of obligation?
So the thing about boundaries with emotional eaters is that they tend to not hear them very well. So what’s happening is that whenever that emotion comes up, you’re not super aware of that emotion. You’re just so used to that pattern of giving and giving that you just end up giving in to the other person. You want to be nice. You’re afraid of kind of standing up for yourself or you’re not even aware of it.
You give and then feel drained and depleted because you did it out of obligation. Then you go towards food to feel better/ feeling in control or just to soothe yourself. I see this happening so much with clients. This has happened to me in the past. You give in to something and do it and feel angry or irritable. I’ve seen this so much with clients, and I want to give you a few examples to see if this is something that’s happened to you as well, because it’s important to notice these patterns.
I had a client who invited family over for two days. These members then invited other members of her family without asking her. The weekend became really overwhelming for her because she had to adjust and find space and to cater to more people. But if she had held on to her boundaries and said this is overwhelming for her OR even recognize that this was too much for her, she would have said something.
Instead, she kind of shrunk and gave in and accommodated and felt really resentful and upset. Instead of saying she needed more space, she ended up using food to soothe herself. She didn’t uphold her boundaries.
Another example is a client at birthday parties. When she gets caught talking to someone for a really long period and she doesn’t want to keep talking to them she decides to have the conversation. She then grabs food while she’s talking to not feel uncomfortable. She feels awkward having to leave the conversation.
This goes back to feeling like you need to be nice as your expense. Then use food to cover up those uncomfortable feelings or anger and resentment. When we eat food to cover up the anger and resentment, we are not listening to our emotions.
These emotions are important, they tell us that we’re crossing a boundary. That we’re betraying ourselves in some way. We don’t feel good and we’re not acting out of a genuine wanting to give. We feel obligated. These emotions are super important to listen to. But if you’re covering them up with food, you’re not going to hear them.
A lot of the times clients don’t see this connection right away. There’s usually something going on under the surface. So what we do when we work together is to dig into what triggered them to feel that way. We look for their belief underneath that is making them do that “thing” and not standing up and feeling confident and empowered in their boundary. We find the root as to why they’re not able to be confident in their boundary.
Because they have a boundary, but they’re not upholding it.
They get really clear, feel the emotion, process and resolve it. This helps them hear their truth, then they can start creating those boundaries in their life and sticking to them. Those boundaries are there to make sure they’re taking care of themselves and they don’t feel depleted. This creates space for them to be and to say no or to tune in when they are overextending themselves so that they don’t end up feeling resentful and angry and then coping. Let me know if that resonates with you.
I see this so much with emotional eaters and it’s hard to create those boundaries, but it is so possible. I just want to say that it’s possible to change those habits, to change those patterns. If you’re looking for more guidance, please get in touch, I’d love to connect with you. And of course, if you have any questions, leave them below.
Certified Holistic Nutritionist