Today I want to share with you why it’s important to feel those emotions under your emotional eating and why it might also be difficult.
We hear the word emotion in emotional eating. So, of course, emotional eating has to do with our emotions. But somewhere along the way, we disconnect from the fact that emotions are part of this. We don’t know how to access our emotions, what they’re there for and why it’s called emotional eating.
What is Emotional Eating?
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 usually learn this pattern when we’re children. We most likely didn’t have parents or caregivers that could regulate us when we were going through some kind of distress. They couldn’t model how to be with emotions, and couldn’t help us move through our emotions. This left us with feeling this discomfort and having to figure out a way to be with it.
We learned to use food to soothe ourselves. Food makes a lot of sense as an option because food physiologically soothes and calms us. But it’s a bandaid solution.
By using find to soothe we miss out on where emotions come into play into this pattern.
No clue about emotions
When I was going through my own emotional eating journey, I had no clue about emotions. I had no clue the role they played and what I needed to do with them.
If someone were to just tell me to feel my feelings or feel my emotions, I would have thought “that should be easy”.
But as I’ve gone through this journey and learned more about my own emotional eating I realized a few things. The way we view emotions in society and in our family makes it difficult to move through emotions.
It’s interesting because I can see this with my son. I see when emotions are coming up for him and how our society reacts to them, or even how I react to certain emotions. In our society, we are taught to distract and to not give into negative emotions, to run away from it.
We’re taught that emotions are not a great thing. Of course, as we’re moving through this journey with emotional eating we might think we’re already feeling our emotions.
The reality is that if we developed this emotional eating pattern, we are coping with our emotions. It’s very difficult for us to be with our emotions. Because we have this coping mechanism, we probably have a lot judgement about emotions and that we shouldn’t feel them.
Unconsciously we suppress them and distract ourselves from them.
What Are Emotions?
Emotions are information. When we’re very young, we are absorbing information from the world and our body translates that from sensations to emotions. Our parents and caregivers are meant to help us figure out our emotions and what they mean.
For example – if we’re feeling angry, maybe we felt like we didn’t have enough autonomy or a boundary was crossed or if we feel sad, something hurt us. This is information about what direction we want to go in.
Those negative emotions are telling us that we probably shouldn’t go in that direction and the more pleasant emotions are telling us to go in another direction.
Emotions are important, but (usually) with our negative or uncomfortable emotions, we all want to avoid them. And that’s what our society tells us to do.
Then we miss out on that vital information. We miss out on how to move through emotions because emotions are in our body and they’re meant to be felt so that we can hear the information. But if we suppress them or we don’t have parents or caregivers to help us move through that energy, we hold them in.
That’s when we feel discomfort and go to food to soothe ourselves. This also means we don’t hear what the emotion is telling us.
Every time we are uncomfortable, we go towards food to soothe or calm ourselves. Then we take this into our adult lives. We see ourselves being triggered into emotional eating and then we feel out of control with food in our body.
Then we try the latest diets and exercise plans in an effort to just be okay. To control our bodies and food. We don’t realize that the deeper issue is around our thoughts about emotions and our emotions.
This becomes so much more complex than it started out because now we won’t fully allow ourselves to feel. We feel a lot of shame around feeling, and yet there are still emotions being triggered. Then we emotionally eat, which creates shame, and we’re in this downward spiral.
It’s important that we get into those emotions and limiting beliefs around emotions. To move through and resolve it. The pattern I find with clients is that these limiting beliefs are coming from three main areas – around food, our body and our emotions.
We picked up these limits because if we didn’t know how to be with our emotions, we feel like we have to sort of control them and we don’t know how to actually be with them and have a healthy relationship. Then we go to diets and the exercise plans and the constricting and restricting and punishing our bodies and we develop even more limitations and more shame.
That locks in even more emotion.
Resolving the pattern
So we need to learn how to be with food in a healthy way and our body in a healthy way. Layer by layer, as we move through it, we get to open ourselves up to resolving those deeper rooted issues.
That’s really where we get into the root of emotional eating. It is really around these emotions and these limitations we’ve set up to protect ourselves.
When we open that up and we resolve it, then we can have this healthy relationship to food where we don’t feel out of control.
When we get into those deeper levels, we can resolve these emotions and these limitations and create a new way forward that’s going to meet our true needs.
For example, emotions, if we were shamed for our emotions, and we develop emotional eating, that means that every time we’re triggered into our emotional eating, we don’t feel our emotions.
Now, because we suppress them, they live in the body. That’s why I love the somatic meditations to work with these limitations, these limiting parts of us and our emotions, so we can move through them in a safe way.
When we do that, we resolve our emotional eating from the root and this is how we move through this pattern. It’s amazing when we do this deeper work, which diets and exercise plans, don’t talk about. They want to give us a new way of being without removing the old way that’s been keeping us safe and locked into place.
A lot of the times the diet mentalities, the exercise plans are restrictive and not in alignment with our body. This creates more issues around emotional eating.
I hope this video has helped you see that emotional eating is a coping mechanism and we really need to get into those emotions, but we might have a barrier to that. That’s why we need deeper tools to get into this pattern to unlock it. It’s not as simple as just feel your emotions. Once we get through these layers we will have a healthier relationship with our emotions and the ability to move through them.
Inside of The Emotional Eating Evolution Program, this is part of the work we do so that you can move through these emotions and dissolve this pattern. In the process you start feeling confident in your body and around food. It doesn’t have to be in a willpowering and efforting way. Of course it requires some work, but it’s more easeful.
I’d love to invite you to check out more about The Emotional Eating Evolution Program HERE if this resonates. Inside of the program you have my step by step methodology with lots of support, guidance and coaching to help you move through your emotional eating and dissolve it from the root so you can finally feel confident in your body and around food.
Certified Holistic Nutritionist + Emotional Eating Expert