Today I want to share with you how our digestion impacts our emotional eating. And how when we correct it, it can help us minimize our emotional eating.
I wanted to share this because when we are dealing with emotional eating and have been trying the typical things that are recommended to us (maybe the diets, exercise plans, surgery, etc.) there’s so much misconception around what emotional eating is and what’s really happening.
I’d love say it’s super simple and we should just know what to do but emotional eating is a multilayered issue. My hope is that through these blogs + videos, you’re getting an idea of how all of these different pieces are coming together.
One of many triggers
One of the triggers to emotional eating is (poor) digestion. It’s something we don’t often think about when we are on the latest diet, exercise plan or doing all of the “things”. We don’t think about our digestion or our relationship to food. Because when we’re emotional eaters, we use food to soothe ourselves and cope.
This pattern usually starts when we are very young. We use food almost like a drug. Whenever uncomfortable emotions or stress comes up, we go towards food. Either consciously or in an unconscious trance. Food becomes this thing we have to control and we obsess over because it becomes addictive. It’s not something we can connect with and think about and feel into.
Digestion + Emotional Eating
I want to share with you more about how digestion impacts our emotional eating and a bit about how our emotional eating impacts our digestion. This is just a layer to emotional eating.
When I work with clients inside of The Emotional Eating Evolution Program, the first layer that we look at is around True Nourishment and Strategic Digestion. This phase can be triggering to a lot of clients because I’m giving them strategies around the way they eat. This is intentional to see where their triggers are and when they’re using food to soothe.
When we are eating food and not recognizing how it feels in our body we will not be able to choose nourishing foods for us. Everyone is going to be different even with “healthy” foods. For one person they can have digestive issues with a food/way of eating and another may not.
If you feel bloated, heavy, low energy, etc after a meal that means your digestion has been impacted by that meal. Our digestion is important because it connects to our mood.
What is Digestion?
Digestion is not just simply eating foods. Diets would have you think if you eat X, Y, a certain amount of calories and you make sure you eat that at this time, you’re good to go.
But what diets are not taking into account is how are you digesting that food and how it feels in your body. We might be going through these diets and not feeling great after we have certain meals, even if it’s “healthy”.
This is where we have to go a bit deeper.
Digestion starts in the mouth. Digestion is a process. We’re intaking food, breaking it down into smaller and smaller pieces. The food once it’s broken down can be absorbed into our body in the small intestines and assimilated into our cells. We then eliminate what we don’t need (ahem we go to the bathroom!).
If we think about our digestive tract, it’s external to our body. If we’re not breaking down foods well this will leave us with symptoms of gas, bloating, feeling heavy after a meal, etc.
Why is that important? Well, we need to get those nutrients into our body and those symptoms mean we haven’t broken down the food to a size that will absorb into the body. This indigestion then impacts our digestive tract and our gut.
Our gut actually holds a lot of bacteria in our gut microbiome . Why is that important? Because the gut microbiome produces a lot of our neurotransmitters. It’s also known as the second brain.
For instance 95% of our serotonin, which is our happiness neurotransmitter, is produced in the gut. When we’re eating foods that are not digesting well (can be healthy or processed, usually processed) we create more neurotoxins, not neurotransmitters.
These neurotoxins impact our mood. Our gut is connected to our brain via the vagus nerve and they communicate with the neurotransmitters OR neurotoxins. So if our digestion is impacted, this reduces serotonin and increases neurotoxins which results in poor moods.
THIS impacts you as an emotional eater because when your mood is low you want to soothe with food. Most likely you will gravitate towards processed foods which give a bigger dopamine rush.
Sadly, this also impacts our digestion tract negatively in 2 ways. 1. We are eating when not truly hungry which damages the digestive system. 2. We are going to choose processed foods which also impact digestion negatively.
This is why it’s important to have a way of eating that’s specific for emotional eaters and to be able to discern true from emotional hunger.
When I work with clients, we’re adding in nourishing foods and eating in a way that’s strategic to digestion. This is not about eliminating taste. This is about how the food feels in the body and tweaking things so that they digest well.
So our digestion plays this key role. When you’re in an emotional eating binge and just grabbing these foods not out of true hunger, that impacts our digestion and our body as well. Because we’re eating foods when we’re not truly hungry, our digestive system isn’t warmed up to digest these foods. This creates even more indigestion and digestive issues. Our gut impacts the brain which lowers our mood.
So as we’re even spiralling and using foods to cope get out of this mood, we’re actually going deeper. Poor digestion > poor mood > more emotional eating > poor digestion > craving more soothing food etc.
How do we resolve this?
We need to have a step by step way of getting out of this. Inside of The Emotional Eating Evolution Program, True Nourishment + Strategic Digestion is the first phase of the program. There are 3 main phases, the other two are Body Acceptance and Emotional Wellness. This is how we start shifting this pattern.
If what I’m saying is resonating with you then I’d love to invite you to check out more about The Emotional Eating Evolution Program HERE. This is my step by step methodology with lots of support, guidance, coaching, and meditations to help you move through this pattern so you can finally feel at ease, free and confident in your body and around food.
To digesting well,
Certified Holistic Nutritionist specializing in Emotional Eating