Have you ever found yourself dieting, losing a few pounds and gaining it back because you couldn't resist your favorite foods that you know aren't good for you? Do you eat when you are not hungry, but because you are tired, bored or upset? I know how hard it is to have extra weight on and yet not be able to stop eating something yummy. Believe me, there is a good reason for these actions and here is a concept that I think may help you look at emotional eating from a different perspective.
Emotional eating is not a sin, it is not a sign of weakness or absence of willpower. Emotional eating is a clever protection tool that actually helps us feel safe and gives us a moment for ourselves. The only problem with it, is that it comes at a very high price -- our health. In order to gain your own power and lose the extra weight, I want you to look at emotional eating from a shopping perspective.
Imagine it is 30 degrees Fahrenheit inside your house. What would you do? My thought is that you'd buy something warm like coat, boots and a hat, right? You'd wear these new finds to protect yourself from the cold. Well, what if people start making fun of you for wearing a coat? What if these extra layers make it uncomfortable to do common tasks? What if they hurt the joints and cause pain? Chances are that even if you take it off, you will still be cold and then you'd put it back on. In order for you to stop being cold, you need to find a warm place to be -- you need to change your environment to do so.
I have a client who has been emotionally eating since she was a kid. After working together for several sessions, she realized that food has been giving her the comfort and love that she didn't receive from her parents. That absence of love morphed into a thought that she wasn't lovable and therefore she stopped loving herself. Why would she give up eating? If she stopped, she would be facing the reality that she wasn't loved. Of course she didn't want to stop eating. To her that idea was the same as taking off her coat and freezing to death. Instead of changing her and making her go on a diet, we focused on letting go of old harmful messages, cultivating self-love and finding proof that she was worthy of being loved.
When you look at the reasons why you eat emotionally, think of the reasons why you start doing so in the first place. If it is boredom, then figure out the ways to change your environment and find fun things to do. If you eat when you are tired, then find what relaxes you. If it is because you feel sad, find the reason for your sadness, let yourself actually feel it and then find things that make you happy. You need to change the reason that led you to eating instead of changing yourself.
Don't go buying warm clothes to protect yourself when all you have to do is find a way to change the thermostat and increase the temperature. And if you can't change the past, then let yourself feel the pain and let it melt away. Look and see how you can change the present and find reasons that make you feel happy to just be yourself. I hope this helps you find your way to a warm place where you feel welcomed, where you can take off your coat and melt into happiness and bliss of being alive.
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