I want to share with you how emotional eating is a symptom and not something to be controlled. I wanted to share this because when we think emotional eating we think controlling food + our body.
All the diets, exercise plans and “solutions” focus on controlling our emotional eating, controlling our food, controlling our body.
We look at emotional eating as something to be controlled not realizing emotional eating is a symptom. It’s a symptom of so many deeper issues that are going on under the surface.
Emotional eating is just a symptom. It’s this glaring thing that’s happening to us that we feel so out of control around. But it’s inviting us into a deeper transformation to get to the root of what created this pattern.
Emotional eating is a coping mechanism. It’s a coping pattern. It’s when we use food to soothe ourselves from any discomfort or distress in our life. We might be aware – “I’m sad today, so I’m going to eat something to make me feel better” OR unconscious and taken over by it.
Emotional eating can be a bit complex. Here I’m just simplifying it, to the distress that we’re experiencing. That distress can be coming from many different areas in our life and trigger us into our emotional eating. Then we see the symptom of it; that feeling out of control, that binging and just consuming food.
The solutions that are sold to you are enticing. You want that magic bullet because we’re so programmed to want a quick fix. But anything that’s a quick fix is not going to last for a very long time.
It’s relying on that part of you that just wants to be out of the pain. To willpower through thinking it’s going to be solved. But if you’ve had this pattern for years, decades, most of your life – why would something so quick fix it?
We need to do the deeper work. This is such a deeply ingrained pattern. This means that we need to work with the patterning in our brain, in our behaviours, and the deeper traumas that created this pattern.
Emotional eating is a symptom of so many other things under the surface. For each person it’s going to be a bit different what that patterning is. I’m going to share with you the patterns that I see with clients that help create this.
I’m going to share the main areas that I see the triggers to the emotional eating pattern. It helps you understand where it is showing up for you. The areas are the key phases in The Emotional Eating Evolution Program.
As I was going through my own emotional eating journey (very blindly) and not knowing what was going on as I looked back, I saw these patterns emerging.
These areas were triggering me into feeling out of control, not feeling good in my body, feeling badly about myself and then emotionally eating.
First Set of Triggers
The first area I’m going to start with is with true nourishment and strategic digestion.
We think that our emotional eating is all about controlling food and so we go to the quick fixes and the diets. They are on the surface and they throw us deeper into this pattern because now we have this set of diet rules that are not in alignment with our body. We start restricting and depriving ourselves which cuts us off from the intuition of our body.
What we need is a more abundant way of being with food that connects us back to our body, our emotions, and our true hunger cues. To notice when we are emotional and going towards food or having cravings.
With true nourishment we’re satisfying our body and not constantly on guard about what we’re eating.
It feels good if we’re eating in a way that feels good, duh(!). It relaxes us and we don’t obsess. If we’re eating to nourish our body and eating enough, we’re not going to be on the hunt for food and calories. So diet mentality is all about restriction and counting calories.
This shift is moving from restriction to truly nourishing our body and fully satisfying hunger so that we’re not binging. To discern true from emotional hunger and optimizing the way we’re eating so that we are optimizing our mood. Imbalanced moods can trigger emotional eating.
There’s so much nutritional noise. We don’t know how to tune back into our body to know what feels good. We’re avoiding carbs, we’re avoiding fruit, we’re avoiding fat, we’re avoiding eating after this time and we’re not really looking at other aspects of our life to know that those rules cannot just be across the board.
Second Set of Triggers
The second area that’s so important to look at is around our body and our body acceptance.
This really goes hand in hand with diet mentality in our society. We want to look a certain way, have a certain sized body and we think we have to willpower our way there.
That looks like punishing our bodies at the gym. Saying the worst things to ourselves about our body and feeding in a lot of negativity to our body.
We’re ignoring our body’s cues for rest and the rhythms that it needs. We are going against the nature of the body.
What that translates to is the body is not going to be healthy. You can’t feed negativity and poor habits and create a healthy, beautiful body. And I don’t mean to say to the *conventional standards*, I mean “your healthy”, beautiful body.
We’re all going to be individual, but we’re going to feel that health in our body and we’re going to feel we’re moving towards it.
When we ignore these things and we’re in this sort of negative cycle with our body and our body image that negativity all of those things that we’re doing to imbalance ourselves puts us into a state where our mood is going to be down.
We’re triggering negative self-talk and that triggers emotional eating and binging.
Third Set of Triggers
The third area that is really key and important and is all about emotional wellness. When we are pushing away our emotions, we’re not able to really dive into them.
We use food to soothe and we’re not going deeper and resolving those emotions that coming up. Also those patterns in our life that leave us feeling awful.
For instance, one of those patterns I see with clients is people pleasing. When we do that, we feel badly, but we cover it up. We emotionally eat, we hide. We think if we don’t do this thing for someone we’re an awful person.
There’s a lot of shame and guilt that triggers the emotional eating pattern as well.
We need to get into the roots. When you get into the true roots of this pattern of your emotional eating and are able to resolve and move through your emotions, you become more and more whole. From that place you’re going to make different decisions about how you show up with other people. You’re not going to put yourself last.
You’re not going to run away from your emotions and what’s really going on for you. You’re going to use your emotions and what’s going on in your life as information to help you move forward. So when we move and shift out of pushing away emotions, staying in these toxic patterns of people pleasing and having low self worth, we shift to understanding our emotions. We use them as guidance to help us.
The more and more whole we become and aligned we become, it’s going to be more effortless for us to meet our true needs time and time again. This means that we’re not going to be triggered into emotional eating.
We’re not using food to soothe, as a cover up or a band aid to our needs. We’re getting into the root of it.
The emotional wellness piece is key and it’s a thread that runs through all of the other areas as well because it’s sort of the core of what created this.
If we were whole and aligned, we wouldn’t have looked to outside sources like diet and punishing our body in an effort to find our wholeness.
Emotional Eating is Multilayered
If we don’t look at emotional eating as this symptom, we don’t realize there’s all of these triggers under the surface triggering our emotional eating.
If we’re able to move through the triggers and resolve this pattern, we dissolve it. We will feel more embodied. We’ll feel more confident in our body, more at ease. We’ll feel more at ease around food, we’ll feel more whole.
That’s the goal.
Because when we feel like we are out of control around something, we’re giving our power away to it.
In the Emotional Eating Evolution Program, we work through these three areas to connect back to who we are, to our body, to food, to our emotions. As we connect back in all of these areas and we do the deeper work to resolve this pattern, we feel at ease, free and confident around food and in our body.
If what I’m sharing with you is resonating and you would like to find out more about The Emotional Eating Evolution Program here.
Certified Holistic Nutritionist + Emotional Eating Expert