Separating Food and Emotions
I’m having one of those mornings where I feel a bit blah and slow. I’m not actually sure why to be honest as a couple of hours ago I was PUMPED after having my body fat measured by my new biz partner Justine Switalla, and coming in at 5% leaner than 5 weeks ago!
Not a bad way to start the morning, especially when we backed it up with a killer legs session and some exciting planning for our upcoming Fitness Model Secrets workshop!
But sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to the way the mind works (especially the driven female mind, methinks) and for whatever reason I’ve been slumping about for the past hour trying to summon up the motivation to jump into my day’s creation. And you know what?
I could kill for some chocolate right now.
What’s that about, anyway? While part of me thinks it’s just the physical urge for a pick-me-up, there’s a deeper part of me that knows it’s about much more than that.
I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely one of those girls who wants to
eat frenziedly gobble chocolate when I get stressed. Or down. Or bored. Or overwhelmed. Or Wednesday 🙂
It’s a habit I’ve been fighting for years to be completely free of. Although I’m very thankful to now be at the point where it’s just about battling small urges rather than trying to escape the clutches of bulimia and binge eating. And whilst I sometimes tell myself “what’s the big deal, it’s only one little chocolate”, I also know that one little chocolate can still sometimes lead to one big day of overeating and then feeling like crap about myself.
And frankly, I just can’t be bothered with dealing with those outcomes anymore; I’m so much more interested in making decisions about my eating as well as other things based on the me I want to be rather than on an ‘in the moment need’.
How to separate food and emotions
If you want to be, you can be free of emotional and even binge eating. I’ve helped hundreds of women escape the clutches of food bondage, I myself am free of over a decade of bulimia and binge eating, and I am incredibly passionate about helping you too to finally be free and eat from a place of calm nourishment and enjoyment rather than escapism or self-sabotage.
Use the following ideas for journalling or just for mulling over. Bookmark this article so that next time you feel yourself leaning this way you can come back to it, and pull something out to help you stay strong and true to the you who you want to be.
Ask yourself –
What is the deeper discontent? The need to eat doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s a sign that you need something. Perhaps stress release, perhaps a distraction, perhaps a need to feel nurtured or in control. Food can mask many things. What do you really need? And in what way would giving in and eating actually benefit you? How can you replace that with something that will also make you feel great about yourself?
Write down 10 meals or snacks you’ve eaten in the last few weeks that satisfied you and made you feel great about yourself. This might even include so-called treats! It’s not about certain foods like chocolate being bad, it’s about the intention behind your need to eat them. There is a huge difference between a piece or two of quality chocolate enjoyed and deserved and a secret or frantic eating to deal with or stuff down some emotion. Differentiate. Know that it’s okay to indulge from a calm place. Be smart about incorporating foods that truly satisfy you.
Can you commit to stopping first – before you give in and eat – and writing about how you will feel after eating the food? This is one of the most effective techniques I use with myself and my coaching clients. Even thinking about it helps.
It’s okay to be stressed –
Come back to what it’s really about. Deal with the emotions that you’re trying to avoid or distract yourself from. Do you feel stressed, scared, alone, misunderstood? Talk to the person in question or write about how you feel. Right now for me, writing this blog post is how I’m dealing with what I was feeling 15 minutes ago! When I stopped to think about it I realised I felt overwhelmed by having quite a long list of tasks for today, even though they’re all things I’m excited about. I felt like I don’t know where to start and I also felt a little bit ‘itchy’ that I haven’t done a solid writing session in the past 2 days. For me if I don’t write, it’s like not showering. I just feel gross, and off.
What do you need to nourish your soul? When did you last do it?
Be kind to yourself –
Recognise that you are working to break a long term habit. It can take time. Set up small milestones for yourself, and rewards or consequences.
Acknowledge your fears –
Are you scared of really trying and then failing? Are you scared of what it would mean to you to be free of emotional eating and/or finally get the body you want? Scared that you wouldn’t maintain it anyway?
What would it mean to you to know that you never ‘needed’ that outlet again? What would you lean on instead? Acknowledge that it’s normal to have fears around achieving your goals or ridding yourself of sabotaging habits. It always serves you to do this stuff, you always get something out of it. Figure out what that is and how you can get it without food.
Have a massive why –
You have to have a massive why. For me, eating clean and getting lean(er) for my photo shoot comes back to the fact that I want to be proud of myself and I want to increase my energy and vitality. You have to want that why more than you want the escapism of emotional eating. Choose to feel good.