We don’t always eat just to satisfy hunger. Many of us also turn to food to relieve stress or cope with unpleasant emotions such as sadness, loneliness, or boredom. And after eating, we feel even worse. Not only does the original emotional issue remain, but we also feel guilty for overeating. No matter how powerless you feel over food cravings, though, there is an answer. By practicing mindful eating, you can change the emotional habits that have sabotaged you in the past, and regain control over both food and your feelings.
Please find below an incredible post from Ali Kerr on ‘Using food to block feelings?’. We hope you’ll find this post helpful and useful in your recovery to healing and recovery.
With week I wanted to talk to you about emotions.
In the very depths of my eating disorder,
food was my only coping mechanism when
it came to dealing with uncomfortable, negative emotions.
It didn’t matter if I was stressed, sad,
frightened, anxious, confused or simply bored.
I would always reach out to food for imagined support.
It used to provide me with a temporary sense of calm.
Even if it lasted just for a few short minutes, food was soothing.
I’d hazard a guess that most of you do the same.
Facing negative feelings is difficult and scary.
Using food to bottle them up and then simply
ignoring them often seems like a much easier solution.
However, while it might be easier, it is also short-lived.
Emotions are obstinate beings – especially if they’re negative.
They refuse to stay silent for long.
Even if you turn them away time and time again,
they keep on coming back and knocking at your door.
That is because all feelings, however uncomfortable
or distressing, are messages.
Their purpose is to inform you about your needs
and continuously remind you about them if they go unmet.
If you ‘eat’ your feelings and deny your inner needs,
all you’re doing is delaying another onslaught of uncomfortable emotions.
Avoiding emotions becomes a prison because the more you avoid,
the weaker you feel, the more your coping skills diminish
and the more it shrinks your life.
We are all human, we all feel a range of emotions,
pleasant and unpleasant.
At times we all feel insecure, not good enough,
sad, unloved, unworthy, this is a normal part of being human.
These are normal, natural emotions.
It is okay to feel this way.
It is not wrong.
These emotions do not define our worth.
We don’t need to suppress or hide or deny them.
Instead we need to recognize these emotions
and respectfully acknowledge them.
Your feelings belong to you and it is
okay to let yourself feel them.
They are an important part of your very being.
So instead of trying to block out every uncomfortable
emotion an alternative is to simply
accept and observe your emotions.
Observing your emotions simply means allowing them to be,
resisting the urge to get rid of the
pain and not judging yourself for having these feelings.
When you accept a negative emotion,
it is usually nowhere near as destructive,
uncomfortable or challenging
as you may have imagined.
Put simply, it doesn’t feel so bad.
Think of all the uncomfortable emotions
that you automatically respond to with
a binge without even a moment’s consideration.
By giving emotions some space to be
and exist you start to gain some measure of control.
What I want you to do instead is stop for a minute
before you turn to food for comfort.
Look closer at the feeling that is driving
you to binge and ask yourself:
- Why do I really feel this way?
- What kind of emotional need have I failed to meet?
- What can I do to fulfil this need instead of pushing it away?
You shouldn’t be afraid of your emotions.
Trust me, they don’t mean you any harm.
They’re simply trying to guide you in your life
and they can only guide you if you listen.
I know this is challenging
But, real growth and learning happens
when we challenge ourselves,
when we push beyond our comfort levels.
Be patient, brave and attentive.
Listening to your emotions will enable you
to discover your true, resilient self.
Your friend and coach,
P.S Heads up! My first book “The Bulimia Help Method”
is now free on Amazon for the next 48 hours.
This is the highest rated Bulimia recovery
book on amazon with an incredible 97% approval rating.
Pick up your free copy from Amazon.com here