P I N T H I S !
I wouldn’t really be able to pinpoint when emotional eating started for me. I don’t even think I realised I was doing it when I was younger!
However, there was this time when I was about 15 years old…
I was rushing around the house getting ready for an eisteddfod (dancing competition), we had to leave in 10 minutes and I wasn’t packed.
FYI: Although I’m a lot a lot better these days, I’m kind of pre programmed to be a disorganised person. It definitely doesn’t come naturally to me!
I vividly remember continuously going back and forth between the kitchen and packing my bag.
I would scoff a muesli bar then continue getting my stuff together.
I would scoff some biscuits then continue getting my stuff together.
I would scoff some bread then continue getting my stuff together.
I actually remember reaching for a muesli bar and thinking “Wait why am I doing this? a) It’s actually making me later and b) I don’t even want it.”
But at the time I couldn’t identify that I was emotionally eating, not to mention that I really felt like I couldn’t stop. I was SO stressed about being late, potentially not being able to find all the bits and pieces of my costumes and my mum getting annoyed at me for not getting ready sooner (rightly so). Food was helping me stuff those uncomfortable feelings down.
This pattern continued for YEARS. And I began to really curse my emotional eating habit. I felt like I tried everything to overcome it. But what it all boiled down to was my complete misunderstanding of it.
Misunderstanding emotional eating kept me locked into it, causing me so much frustration and overwhelm. That’s why today I’m sharing these 3 things about emotional eating that you probably don’t know! Once you fully understand these and take them onboard, you will have a whole new sense of empowerment around it.
1. It’s a symptom, not a problem.
It’s so incredibly easy to think of emotional eating as the enemy. When you’re challenged with something and you feel like you can’t get it under control, of course you’re going to think of it as the problem! But it’s not the problem, it’s a symptom.
When you put all your focus into a symptom without actually diving deeper into the real problem or issue, you’re not going to get very far.
Symptoms give us clues, they make us aware of something else that is going on. And that’s exactly what emotional eating does.
I used to try every tactic under the sun to get in control of my emotional eating. I was so focused on the actual behaviour itself that I missed the whole point entirely.
Stop attacking the actual emotional eating itself and begin to look deeper. It will likely be uncomfortable to do so but I promise it’s worth it. It just takes a little (or a lot of) compassion towards yourself and practise.
To help you navigate diving deeper, I’ve created a PDF with 8 simple questions you can ask yourself. These questions will help you identify and gain clarity on why you are emotionally eating. Check them out by entering your details below, and I’ll have it make it’s way to your inbox!
2. It doesn’t make you a bad person.
I know right – shock!
For years I used to beat myself up about emotional eating. I was embarrassed and ashamed. Now, as we all know logically, the self attacking thoughts and harsh self punishment doesn’t do anyone any good. Yet we still beat ourselves up!
All beating ourselves up ever gets us is bruises.
So here’s something I learnt along my food healing journey:
I can emotionally eat and still be good enough, whole, complete and worthy. I never was and never will be broken or need “fixing”, regardless of how I eat.
My clients are all intelligent, caring, amazing, hilarious women. They are experiencing challenges with food but it doesn’t take anything away from the amazing people they are. It certainly doesn’t make them bad people.
Whether you’re experiencing emotional eating, binge eating, are feeling a bit out of control around food or just can’t seem to “get it together”, you are still (and always will be) worthy, whole and complete. Always.
Understand this and it will be 10 times easier to move forward.
3. You’ll never fully overcome it.
I’m not putting a downer on things, I’m just being honest!
The whole point isn’t to fully overcome it. Because you can’t. You’re human. There will be times where you eat based purely on your emotions. And that’s OK! We all do it.
I completely get that you don’t want it to rule your life, but there will never be a point you reach where you it never ever happen again. There is not a magical destination in which you will arrive and think to yourself “aha, I’ve done it. I have completely overcome emotional eating.”
So take the pressure off! Let go of the idea that you need to reach his imaginary place. It’s completely possible to really dissolve emotional eating and get to a place where it’s not totally ruling you. But you’ll never be perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist. (What a relief!)
Emotional eating is a beautiful doorway to so much personal growth and understanding. I’m grateful it’s such a blatantly obvious symptom. You can’t really miss it.
Stop fighting it and let it open you up to what really needs your attention.
Remember to grab your free PDF. You can use these questions like a self inquiry checklist. They’ll help you dive deeper and navigate the real reasons why you’re feeling challenged with emotional eating. Pop your deets in the box below and I’ll send you the download!
Jessica Silsby is an Eating Psychology Coach, reformed fad dieter and peaceful eater.
She teaches women the real reasons they feel out of control around food, so they stop stressing and obsessing about their eating habits and finally feel free.