I wanted to share with you the deeper pattern of emotional eating so that you can understand why we need a different solution to what is conventionally told to us.
As I’ve worked with clients I’ve seen that this pattern usually comes from childhood. We learn to soothe ourselves with food.
Emotional eating is when we use food to avoid or distract from uncomfortable emotions. It is a coping mechanism and is an addictive pattern.
So, we need to understand the deeper roots so we know how to resolve it.
If we think back to childhood…
We all needed to be seen, heard and validated in our emotions. We needed our caregivers to regulate us and not shame us for our emotions. To model to us how to be with emotions.
But what I see with clients, experienced myself and see in society in general is that we don’t know much about emotions and when they come up they tend to be shamed. So most of us don’t know how to be with our emotions, our parents don’t know because their parents didn’t know how and so the cycle is perpetuated.
So when we experienced these emotions our parents didn’t know how to be with them and so we were left feeling shame OR we were shamed for having them.
This drives us to push away these emotions but we still feel them. And now need a way to soothe ourselves.
NOTE: I am generalizing as each person will have a different experience of this. When I work with clients 1:1 (or they use the meditations I provide) we find their particular root and work with it. This work is nuanced for each person 🙂
Ways we start using food…
Food is very accessible and can also mean love and connection. Think about being fed as a baby. Also, eating makes us feel good (releases feel good compounds) which helps us to temporarily distract from our emotions.
What might have also happened is that our parents may have given us food when we were sad or used it to bribe us.
Being shamed for having emotions makes us go towards food in these cases.
We may have also seen our parents using food to cope as well and that is what they modelled to us to deal with stress or discomfort.
So over time this pattern becomes deeply ingrained because our brains love efficiency.
The pattern becomes automatic. So any discomfort signals us to go towards food without thinking.
When we were younger it helped us cope but over time this pattern becomes destructive leading to health issues and weight gain etc.
This makes you feel out of control around food, in your body and leaves you feeling even more uncomfortable.
Looking for a solution…
So when we feel this out of control we want control of our bodes and hunger. What is sold to us is to diet and exercise. I get it. I was there too. Thinking something was wrong with me not knowing the deeper root issue.
This doesn’t help because it makes us disconnect more and more from our body. We start learning a new set of dysfunctional rules. Rules that are making us fit into an external box.
I even tried therapy in an effort to get to the bottom of this. With therapy I knew about triggers and changing behaviours but I couldn’t resolve the deep root. I didn’t know how to heal it from the body level.
So I threw everything out the window. But through A LOT of trial and error over many years I found there were 3 key areas that I needed to address to resolve my emotional eating.
The 3 Key Areas
We need to address true nourishment, body acceptance and emotional wellness.
- true vs. emotional hunger
- nourish not restrict
- heal the digestive system to optimize mood
- understanding our energy levels and rituals needed to help with mood
- not push and punish our bodies to control physical issues
- give to ourselves what we missed and meet our true needs
- process and integrate past trauma on a body level because unprocessed emotions live there.
- Create safety and regulation
As you reflect on how this pattern was created you can see how these areas help us get out of this. Relearning a new way to nourish ourselves, accept ourselves and resolve those emotions are the basis of The Emotional Eating Evolution Program. This program was born out of my own journey and is my step by step methodology to resolve emotional eating from the root so you can feel confident in your body and around food.
To true resolution,
Certified Holistic Nutritionist + Emotional Eating Expert