Today I wanted to talk about stressors and how that impacts emotional eaters and what we can do about it. Stress usually triggers emotional eaters into eating. I’ve heard this from many women that when their life is stressed and there’s so much going on, they find that they’re constantly emotionally eating. It seems like they can’t get a handle on their life. It just feels so stressful and that they go towards food to just take the edge off, to deal with all the stress in their life, to feel OK. So many women are aware that they’re going to the food. They’re emotionally eating, because that’s the only way they know how to deal with their emotions.
I totally get it because that’s exactly what I did before. If I look back, I didn’t even connect the stressors in my life to my emotional eating. A lot was going on in my life and I would just be emotionally eating. So, looking back, I was going through a lot of financial stress, emotional stress, relational stress, all the stress, commuting, work, all the kinds of stress.
And then I was trying to control my body. So I was in a cycle of dieting and then I would overexercise and I was trying to control my body and creating more stress there as well. I remember even being on a diet for a few months losing weight and I kept using it for a while. I was eating the same but I started gaining weight!
It was so frustrating. Looking back, I could see all the stressors that were creating this emotional eating. If you’re trying to control the way you’re eating but use food to deal with stress, you set yourself up to binge. There are other issues that happen with emotional eating and stressors as well.
When life is calm…
When life is calm, when everything’s going great, of course you can stick to whatever diet or plan you’re on. Then something happens and throws them off. So yes, of course, when life is perfect and calm, nothing happens. But life throws us curveballs. When I look back to that time where I was so stressed out, so much was going on and I hit this rock bottom. I swung to the other extreme, I couldn’t do the diets anymore. I couldn’t sustain anything. I just started eating whatever I wanted. I realized from that I didn’t feel good that way either.
I knew I needed to find a better way. I started learning about health, wellness and emotions. I studied and had mentors which helped me figure out what worked for me. I started creating a solution that was internal rather than external.
When life throws a curveball…
When everything is working well in life you you have some sense of control. But when life falls apart on the outside, how do you deal with it on the inside? And that’s what that time in my life forced me to do. I had to start building this internal foundation of how to manage my stressors and manage my eating and my life and all of that. And so the things that I learned through this whole trial and error process became the foundation of my program, the Emotional Eating Evolution Program.
And the reason it’s called that is because through our emotional eating, we can evolve. We can evolve into a better version of ourselves. We can hear the messages of our emotion. We can start going in the direction of our goals and our dreams and feeling better in our life. The emotional eating is there as a gateway to open us up to this. So when I was moving through this, a foundation emerged.
I’m going to share with you the three key areas of that foundation that helped me and that I help my clients navigate through so that they can feel their best as well.
The first area is true nourishment and strategic digestion. I know you’ve been on diets and plans but this is different. This is true nourishment, really tuning into your body to notice when you’re truly hungry versus emotionally hungry. Nourishing your body so it doesn’t feel depleted. It’s also about being strategic about your digestion. When we’re under so much stress, in whatever form it messes with our digestion. When our digestion is messed up it impacts our mental health. We will have poor moods which make us emotionally eat. We need to know how to nourish our bodies and rebuild it.
The second key area is body acceptance. When we are dieting and trying to force ourselves into a certain shape, we don’t appreciate our body. We don’t accept our bodies and we are punishing our bodies. So we’re punishing ourselves to a body we love. That doesn’t make sense. It’s stressful when we’re constantly critiquing ourselves and saying negative things. We are putting stress on ourselves mentally and that translates physically. And so we are stressing out the body.
Stress makes us hold on to weight and increases inflammation. When we start accepting our body, we start understanding our body. We can start to appreciate our body. We know when it needs more/less food and we have rituals around how to take care of our body.
A third key area is emotional wellness. This is my favourite because if we don’t process, resolve and let go of our emotions they will live in the body.
The unresolved emotions will live in our nervous system. We’ll always feel on edge and agitated and like we have a million things on our mind. We have a million things to do. We might have two things to do but we feel so stressed and so overwhelmed. Those emotions are living in our body. Our nervous system is trying to manage them. But if our nervous system doesn’t release that energy, it cannot go back to calm.
So if we don’t let go of those emotions and process them, our nervous system is constantly agitated. When our nervous system is like that we cannot think clearly. We don’t have clarity. We don’t have presence. We are going to feel overwhelmed. We’re going to feel like we have a million things to do when we have two things to do. But if we’re able to process, resolve and move through our emotions and especially those emotions under our emotional eating, our nervous system goes back to calm.
Our body goes back to calm and goes back to presence. Then we can think clearly. We can see clearly. We know the next step. We are clear about things. And that brings a sense of calm and peace to our life. We won’t feel like we’re juggling a million things and so many things are going on.
Also, when we start listening to our emotions they are so intelligent. They’re telling us something isn’t working for us. For example if we’re in a job that’s not working for us or a relationship our emotions tell us through some kind of agitation.
We can finally feel good because we’ve gotten a handle on our emotional eating, we’ve finally gotten a handle on our well-being, and we can see clearly we can evolve.
If what I’m sharing is resonating for you, I invite you to book a complimentary call if you want to dive deeper to see if this program is a good fit for you.
It’s time to start deeply nourishing our body, accepting our body and moving through our emotions. Emotional eating is a doorway to evolve. To go after the goals, be the person we want to be, be a role model to our kids, be present around food, connect more deeply with other and pass by the mirror and say kind things to yourself.
Certified Holistic Nutritionist.