Today I wanted to share with you the layers you need to move through in order to resolve your emotional eating. I wanted to talk about about emotional eating in layers because the pattern is multilayered.
As I reflect back on my own journey with emotional eating, it wasn’t as surface level as I thought. It wasn’t just simply about controlling my food and my body. There was so much more under the surface.
But what we’re sold to in society is that we just need to control something on the surface; that’s going to lead to us changing and becoming what we desire.
Emotional eating is multilayered. What we see is on the surface, is almost like if you had an orange. All you see is the outside of the orange, the peel, the top layer. But what created that orange? There was a seed that needed to be planted to become a tree that bore fruit.
So there are many layers to go through with emotional eating until we find the seed or root cause. When we look at the surface we feel like we’re out of control with food and can’t control ourselves. We’re trying the latest restrictive diet and counting calories. We are trying everything in our power. We’re might have gotten surgeries, are taking pills, are doing “all the things”. We’re using our limited willpower.
Willpower doesn’t sustain us…
Willpower is an amazing thing. It helps us get started on something, but it doesn’t sustain us through a journey. Especially something like emotional eating that is a multilayered. It’s not as simple as learning something for the first time and deciding to eat differently or to move differently, We’re adding this on top of a lot of layers that have created this pattern which stems from trauma.
Emotional eating is a coping mechanism. It’s something that was created in childhood due to a trauma (small or big). It’s been there for a long time. Then on top of it, we layer on other dysfunctional patterns as well.
The typical pattern
I’m going to share with you what I typically see. On the surface of emotional eating, we see that we’re out of control with food or we feel out of control with our body. We feel like we can’t stop ourselves from eating. We’re bingeing all the time, we just feel like crap about ourselves, that we have no self control, we have no way of nourishing ourselves.
Then we’re trying to control our food and our body. When that urge comes up to emotionally eat, we try to push it away and we try to willpower our way through it. We want to be stronger than it. We want to control it. We’re going to do this we tell ourselves.
We’re very willful. And so when you are battling yourself, you can’t win. Part of you loses. It’s like 50% of you wins and 50% of you loses, you lose. So we need to work with this pattern in a more profound way.
So we need recognize that all of the years and decades of willpowering and doing things a certain way hasn’t worked!
It’s important to nourish your body. It’s important to move your body. It’s important to move through the emotions that are creating the emotional eating pattern. But we need to do this in a certain way.
The way that I work with clients which worked for me on my journey was that I experimented with everything that I was doing. I started off really small. As I went through the layers, what kept me motivated was not my willpower…
It was a sense of feeling resolution and feeling good. Like I had found what was missing for so long.
Everything that I share with clients supports them on their journey. The biggest piece is resolving the emotional eating coping mechanism. This involves the emotions under the pattern and limiting beliefs – the seed or root of all of this.
We also need to learn how to nourish ourselves and accept our body. If we resolve the pattern/trauma and then we’re left without a structure, we never really learn how to relate to our body, food and our emotions in a healthy way.
In society we are taught the opposite of what we truly need. We diet, calorie count, restrict, push excessively at the gym, push down emotions etc. These habits can trigger emotional eating.
So the first layer we need to look at and work through is to start transforming the way we relate to food and nourishment.
We have this old mentality in society that we need to restrict. We have a very old model of calories in versus calories out. We don’t take into account psychologically if we restrict ourselves from certain foods or amounts of food that we get pulled to them.
Of course until we heal the emotional eating pattern we’re going to crave those foods. If we restrict them we’re going to want to eat them more. If we don’t learn how to nourish ourselves and heal the underlying pattern, we’re going to be pulled back into bingeing.
Our body is going to want us to eat because we have been starving it. So that’s a little about the first layer. Is it the full solution? No, we need to use this as a gateway.
The second layer is about tuning into your body and body acceptance.
Ask yourself what are the rhythms of your body?
What’s your energy level like?
If you treat our body a certain way, how does it respond?
If you are going for hours and days without truly nourishing your body in terms of rest, taking breaks, and having proper movement you will trigger binge eating and/or emotional eating.
All of these things need to be taken into account because when we’re imbalanced in these areas, it creates stress. This impacts our mood which triggers emotional eating.
If you rest enough, it’s not going to fully take away your emotional eating, it’s going to take away a trigger. If you have been not sleeping enough, that creates stress which will lead to more emotional eating.
The third layer, which is the deepest layer, is looking at the emotional eating pattern that is creating your emotional eating. What are the emotions, the unresolved events, limiting beliefs that are creating this pattern.
This is the deepest work that we do and most profound for my clients because we are not taught to turn towards ourselves.
We want to blame something outside of us. Yes, our society is not set up to show us how to nourish ourselves or be with our emotions or take care of our bodies. Our parents didn’t do that for us but now we have awareness. Here we turn towards ourselves because no one’s going to come and do it for us.
Even when I’m working with clients, I’m not there to fix them, I’m there to guide them into coming back to themselves. There’s nothing that I’m going to give to you that is going to heal you unless you allow it. You have to be committed, open and willing to do the work.
What I see with a lot of clients is that it’s really hard for them to turn towards their emotions because they feel they “mentally” get it.
“Yes, I should forgive this person, I should do this, I’m tougher than that”.
They’ve been through so much and they have all of these mental excuses that present as resiliency. But emotions are in the body and when we don’t feel them or we’re not taught to or modelled in a healthy way they remain stuck in the body. This is how we store trauma.
We want to have a smile on our face, we want to appear pleasant. It’s hard to express your emotions and be vulnerable in public. We’ve been so conditioned to think that emotions are bad.
This happens when we are young and we have to figure out ways to cope with the discomfort. For emotional eaters that is through food.
So that’s the deepest layer and that’s where you need to have a lot of understanding and compassion for yourself. The more and more you just think about your pattern and don’t really feel into it, the more you’re going to be taken over by it because you’re dismissing that part of you again and again.
That just makes the pattern grow bigger and bigger. It’s like if you ignore a child, it’ll have a bigger and bigger tantrum or it will go deeper and deeper into a depressive state. These are both extremes, but they’re not balanced in terms of expressing emotion. Once we’re able to get into the deep roots of the pattern, it’s easier to implement a new way of being that meets your true needs.
You start really seeing how this pattern is not just about measuring or restricting your food or wanting your body to look a certain way. It goes deeper because your emotions are giving you information about you, your life and where you might need to shift or change or resolve something so that you feel good and you’re no longer using food to cope.
When you resolve the pattern at this level you start feeling good around food and in your body and you have more ease and confidence and flow. If you’ve been trying the surface solutions or even have had surgeries, you need to go deeper.
If what I’m sharing is resonating and you are ready to dive deeper and to resolve your emotional eating pattern, I’d love to invite you to check out more about The Emotional Eating Evolution Program here. It’s my step by step methodology with lots of support, guidance, meditations and coaching to help you move through the emotional eating pattern so that you can finally resolve it and feel good around food and in your body.
Certified Holistic Nutritionist + Emotional Eating Expert