Today I want to share with you why behavioural change alone will not help you resolve your emotional eating.
I wanted to dive a bit deeper into why simple behaviour change is not going to help you with resolving your emotional eating. This is because emotional eating is a coping mechanism, and that means it’s deeply ingrained. This pattern usually goes back all the way to childhood. This is what I’ve seen with clients, and this was the case for myself.
Deeply Ingrained Pattern
Because this pattern is so deeply ingrained, we can’t just simply create a behaviour and expect to override it. Emotional eating, like I mentioned, is the coping mechanism. These coping mechanisms and patterns are very automatic and they live in our subconscious.
You can liken it to our heart beating or our lungs breathing in and out. We don’t have to consciously think about it. So these patterns are very unconscious, and we might see the behaviour but we don’t know the deeper roots and what’s going on under the surface. This pattern also holds a lot of power. Our subconscious mind is running about 90% to 95% of our actions during the day. We have 5% conscious control of our actions.
If we were to consciously think about walking or breathing or our heart beating, we wouldn’t have a lot of space to be. And so the subconscious part of us that’s very automatic is important, and we want to use it to our advantage. Patterns like emotional eating initially helped us cope, but they are detrimental.
What we’re seeing on the outside is the behaviour, how we’re going to food, how we’re binging. We want to stop our hands from taking the food or stop our mouths from chewing the food. It seems obvious, but we have to step back and go deeper. Emotional eating is almost like an iceberg. Today I’m going to focus on those deeper changes needed under the surface.
The Pattern Gets Triggered…
Sometimes we need to add in little things that are easier for us to implement because we don’t have such a charge around them. For the bigger shifting of this pattern, we have to dive deeper. And so when we have this pattern because it’s in our subconscious, because it’s running the show automatically it lives in our body. This pattern is very powerful when triggered. Whenever we feel any kind of discomfort or unease, this pattern gets triggered.
The pattern comes up to deal with the discomfort that we’re feeling. It is helping us cope with uncomfortable emotions, discomfort and the stressors of life. We run to food which is a bandaid.
This coping mechanism is not resolving our issues under the surface. It’s not resolving those emotions.
When we were very young, we didn’t have someone there to help us regulate, process and move through any discomfort and to feel safe with emotions. We didn’t learn that.
We continue this pattern now with food. So we’re constantly using food to soothe ourselves, not really looking at the deeper issue that’s going on or being able to move through the uncomfortable emotions or discomfort under the surface. This is important because those emotions give us information. They’re so important. We need to be able to access those emotions because when we’re in this coping pattern, they can be covered up easily.
We might not even know an emotion was triggered…
We might not even realize we’re feeling a certain way. This was my experience. I would have five meals in a row and not even realize that I was triggered into feeling a certain way. It can be easy to say, just feel your emotions.
But it can actually be hard to feel those emotions if we weren’t taught to feel safe with them. In our society we run away from our emotions. We don’t want to feel the discomfort in our body. We run away by using food and other distractions. It can feel very uncomfortable to feel those emotions, but they hold so much information. They are the gateway to us healing this pattern. We need to learn to feel safe with these emotions and to access them at a body level because that’s where they live.
Emotions/Parts of us carry the message of our true needs
Sometimes parts of us, younger parts of us are attached to these emotions. It’s sort of a combination. You can think of it as just a younger part of you that has unmet needs. When we’re able to really meet this part and create that safety and to move through those emotions and to process and resolve them and integrate them, they no longer have power over us.
And from this process, we actually find out the true need of that part or what that emotion was trying to tell us we needed. And this shifts our perspective. This gives us a bigger awareness of how food cannot soothe us. It gives us a deeper insight on what we truly need. And honestly, when we get that need met, food will not be able to substitute for that any longer.
You detach from food and you can move forward and relate to food in a different way. You will also relate to yourself, your needs and your emotions in a new way.
Why behaviour change doesn’t work…
So this is why when we slap on a behaviour change, we are bypassing all of these steps. And it’s almost like there’s all this stuff that we need to look at below the iceberg.
Meanwhile, all the stuff under the surface needs to be looked at, processed, and has a lot of power. So we need to work with it in a specific way so that we can create that true change. This is how we create change that is sustainable because we’re not sweeping something under the rug.
We integrate what was left unprocessed. This creates a a wholeness and sense of ease. This creates confidence in your body around food because you’re no longer attached. You don’t have to obsess, use willpower or control. You get to be more at ease and you’ll feel that in your body.
So I hope what I’ve said is resonating with you and it’s giving you a lot of clarity on what’s going on under the surface and why behaviour change, control or willpower alone is not going to work for this deeper pattern.
Invitation – If what I’m saying to you is resonating and you would like to you’re ready for more support and guidance on your journey I’d love to invite you to find out more about The Emotional Eating Evolution Program. This is my step by step process to help you move through your emotional eating patterns so you can resolve it at the root.
Thank you so much for reading/watching. If you have any questions, please leave them below.
To sustainable change,
Certified Holistic Nutritionist + Emotional Eating Guide