What feeling are you looking for?
Recently I had a conversation with a friend that got me thinking about emotional eating. She was expressing her frustration of going back to old eating habits after having worked so hard to eat healthy.
She knew what she was supposed to eat instead of Chinese food and cookie dough, but still she chose to eat those things. As she ate them she felt good, but as soon as it was over it was like she "came to" and felt badly about what she had done. What a frustrating position to find yourself in! You want to eat healthy, you know how to eat healthy, but sometimes you find yourself being taken over by a craving and completely losing 'control' of yourself.
So what's the solution? Is there one?
First, stop trying to control anything. The moment you start making choices out of 'self-control' is the moment you start fighting against yourself. Because when you are making choices from that place it means that a part of you wants one thing but your mind says, "no that's bad!", and within that dynamic you are experiencing inner conflict. Have you ever seen those 'healthy' people that walk around boasting about their diets and how much they exercise? They seem really uptight and unhappy but they continue to preach to others that this is the only way to live and that they feel so good. Behind their mask of 'I'm healthy' is the ongoing internal battle that they are always living in. Conversely it is totally possible to live a very healthy life and feel quite peaceful on the inside. In order to be in that place we need to drop the illusion that 'self-control' is the answer to dealing with emotional eating. Hopefully that's quite a relief to find out. You don't have to fight yourself in order to make better choices.
So what do you have to do?
Take a moment to acknowledge where you are in this moment. Close your eyes if it makes it easier for you to connect with yourself. Where are you right now? What are you feeling? What is it that you know can improve about your health? Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly. Before we can move on to goal setting we first need to realize and fully accept where we are right now. Then allow yourself to see what is possible. Envision yourself living the way you know you can. What would it be like if you no longer had so many internal battles over what you eat. What does it feel like to have a peaceful relationship with food?
Now you've acknowledged and accepted point A and allowed yourself to see point B. What's next? And how do you get there?
Ask yourself, "What is the feeling I am looking for when I eat junk food or overeat food in general?" This is not an easy question to answer but when you start to answer it things will begin to become a lot more clear. You could have answered that you were seeking comfort, happiness, satisfaction, or maybe even love. All of these answers are completely ok and perfectly normal. Now take a moment to see where in your life you are cutting yourself off from receiving the feeling that you have been seeking in food. If the feeling is comfort, in what instances do you not allow yourself to truly feel comforted? Maybe you don't allow yourself to feel supported, therefore leaving you to seek comfort. If it's love that you are seeking, the answer isn't to run out and get a boyfriend, it is to deepen your relationship with self. Love and care for yourself you would someone that is precious to you. When you realize what feeling it is that you are seeking in food you can start to find places that feeling can enter your life in healthier ways. And that's the path to point B.
Fighting with yourself and using will power to eat healthy can only get you so far. Enjoy the journey of beginning to truly care for yourself.
What feeling have you been seeking in food? Let me know in the comments below!