The myth of you being broken when you emotionally eat is not true. The reason is because Emotional Eating is a coping mechanism. So let’s dive in and chat about why this myth isn’t true.
A lot of women feel like they’re broken when they have this emotional eating pattern. They think something’s wrong with them, their body, and they just can’t seem to “fix” themselves.
I totally get it.
When I was emotionally eating myself, I thought something was wrong with me. Everyone seemed to have a normal relationship to food. They didn’t overeat. They seemed to not be hungry all the time.
I just thought that something was wrong with me, and I needed to fix myself. But that could be further from the truth.
You are not broken. You don’t need to “fix” yourself. You need to understand what Emotional Eating is. It’s a coping mechanism.
A coping mechanism is not something we’re born with, its not a deficit or means we’re broken or we don’t work.
How this develops
It’s something we develop when we were young. When we experienced any stress, uncomfortable emotions, situations we couldn’t move through and process on our own. Anything that left us feeling overwhelmed. If we didn’t have parents or caregivers there to help us navigate these situations and help us feel regulated this creates a trauma, an unresolved situation. It makes us hold on to distress and uncomfortable emotions in our body versus processing them and allowing them to move through us.
These uncomfortable emotions, this discomfort, stays in our body. So we want to do anything we can to cope with the situation, cope with the discomfort that’s arising in our body, in our life. As children, we are just trying to survive so we develop a coping mechanism.
Food is a pretty obvious coping mechanism. Food is connected to love, to our mother, and being breastfed. Food, also physiologically produces endorphins and feels good when we eat. It gives us a band aid or buffer of feeling okay when we’re feeling that discomfort in our body.
Feeling that discomfort in our body can make us feel like something’s wrong with us, that we’re broken because we can’t seem to get rid of it. It’s only when we eat food, we tend to feel okay.
It’s not obvious…
This pattern is not as obvious when we’re younger. It’s not like we’re sitting around eating five bags of potato chips. It slowly develops, but the seeds are planted at a young age.
As life presents more stressors, this pattern can grow. It’s almost like a snowball rolling down the hill.
Simultaneously, we get different messages about how can we be loved and accepted, which is what we’re deeply craving. That acceptance because we didn’t have that at the time when this happened.
We’re chasing after the diets to control our hunger, or we don’t feel good because we have this out of control hunger. We’re now chasing the body, maybe through extreme exercise or just doing whatever we can. We’re trying to get to that point, that place we think is acceptable.
We get this messaging from our society. If we look a certain way, if we’re a certain size, if we act a certain way, then finally we’re going to have that acceptance.
So we’re chasing that. But we’re chasing it in a superficial way, in a surface way that’s not going to ever fill that hole.
We have to go deeper.
So it’s not that you’re broken or need to be fixed, you just don’t know how to tap into this deeper layer to resolve this pattern and to become more whole. If you understand that this pattern was created from that seed and it’s now snowballed into this coping mechanism, then we know we need to go backwards.
What we need
We need to start creating a healthier relationship to food, our body, and our emotions. That’s how we’re going to get to the deeper levels and resolve this issue at the root.
Now we’re going to relate to food in a healthier way versus the dieting or the manipulative way we’ve been taught in our society. We’re going to relate to our body in a way that is accepting of it, meeting its needs, not being in that shame spiral that triggers emotional eating. We’re getting into the deeper roots of these emotions that are now stored in the body, these traumas, and getting to them at that root level, clearing them out. And also learning new ways to move forward, to be with our emotions, to move through life.
This is how we’re going to heal this coping mechanism. This is how we move from coping to thriving.
Because when we’re nourishing our bodies with amazing food, when we are accepting of our bodies and moving through our emotions, this is what life is meant to be. This shifts our nervous system from that stress mode, that survival mode, to rest and digest to a calm, peaceful, easeful state. This is where confidence, ease live and health live. This is what we need to do.
So if you ever thought you were broken, you’re not broken.
If you’d like to dive deeper into how to implement these steps to get to that resolution, that peace, ease and confidence around food and in your body, I’d love to invite you to find out more about The Emotional Eating Evolution Program HERE.
Inside of the program we are doing the deeper work on all of these layers to create that healthy relationship to food, your body and your emotions so you’re no longer obsessing about food, no longer obsessing about your body, no longer trying to plug holes with food.
Certified Holistic Nutritionist Specializing in Emotional Eating