"I am an emotional eater"

This is pretty hard for me, admitting this so openly. But it`s also a huge step for me that I am immensely proud of because it shows how far I have come in the past year.
I used to eat my emotions. 

Basically, what that means is that when I got stressed, extremely angry or sad or anything else on the extreme side of "negativity", instead of listening and working through it, I distracted myself with food. I adore cooking, I love eating just as much. But overeating was more of a distraction and punishment because being so full did not feel good (I know that a lot of people eat when they are sad or angry or... But there´s a difference between eating a tub of ice cream and eating past the point of physical pain). And eating after saying to yourself about 30 times: "I am so full I can´t possibly eat more", that was the punishment- because it´s physically and emotionally painful. Which made me feel something. Ironic isn´t it? First trying to numb feelings by eating and then desperately trying to get them back by eating because not feeling scared me. It was punishment for not taking the higher route of dealing with whatever was going on and completely ignoring my body that was feeling dark emotions. But feelings need to go somewhere. 
I didn´t only overeat because of emotions. Two years ago, when I underate a lot of the times because I was "dieting", I would lash out on cheat days; but that was only 10% of the times I was actually overeating. 90% truly was emotional. 

This form of self-abuse was my way of coping for a long time. And I´m not saying I don´t have fallbacks, but it´s a rare thing now.

What changed is the way I deal with myself before, during and after overeating. I never told anyone about this, because I didn´t want to look crazy or be looked at differently. I was known for having my s**t together. And in a way I did. Just not every single day. But everyone around me was going through their own stuff, and I didn´t want to burden anyone with my problems, which I now recognize was wrong of me. But at the time that was the way I was thinking.

What I´m trying to say is this: if you are eating your emotions the way I used to, know that this is one way of coping and right now it might be the right way for you, because you need to go through this and learn a lesson for yourself. I´m just trying to show you that it won´t be this way forever if you don´t want it to be. You won´t stop overeating (or any other self-destructive form of coping with problems)  miraculously when your problems go away. Because there will always be new ones or you´ll feel bored or lonely or whatever. But your way of coping can change anytime. Every single day is an opportunity to instead do something that you already know to do that would be better, like working out or meditating or calling a friend or getting a therapist or painting or reading or writing or screaming into a pillow. Pick a weapon. Try a different method each time, try to find what feels good. 

But you already know that. The most crucial part of overcoming something like this is how you deal with yourself when you have fallbacks or are still in that mode of operation. If you get to the point where you are sitting there, eating entire chocolate bars or whatever your vice is ( Nutella covered popcorn anyone? Or curry with rice... That stuff is gooood); try not to distract yourself from the fact that you are eating. I used to do this all the time. I would eat to distract myself from feeling and then would get angry at myself for doing so and then distract myself from my disappointment by watching Netflix or reading while I was eating. Instead be grateful that you have this amazing food and actually enjoy it.
Fully taste every single flavor that hits your tongue. That´s how food should be eaten. Fully in the moment, feeling the textures, smelling the spices, sensing the comfort that food can give you. Because I promise you, you will stop earlier, be proud of yourself and feel better about the session. And don´t beat yourself up for it afterward. Try to do something good for yourself. If you got to the point of overeating, that means that you have been neglecting your own needs for a while. See this as your emotional body giving you a clearer warning sign because you couldn´t hear its´more sensitive nudges and bells. So be thankful that you have been forced to listen and use that opportunity. Be selfish: do something just for yourself. And please, please don´t overtrain afterward. That´s just more punishment. And you know that it won´t help to run a half marathon, because chances are your body needs that energy to digest and you´re not running on the fuel that you would actually need, but a lot of sugar and fats. 
Try to then release some of the pent-up emotion by meditating on it or talking about it or writing it down. Release it however you do it normally, feel through it. Because that will enable you to let go of the urge to overeat again.

Finally, know that you are not alone. Ever. That´s what this post is truly about: showing you that you are never the only one. Maybe different circumstances and different people are running through your theater play, but it´s the same story emotionally and the same way of dealing or not dealing. So many people react the same way you do (or use some other way of coping, but it´s the same principle), they just aren´t open about it, because that´s so, so scary. If you need professional help, search for a therapist or a support group in your area. Try online therapy (e.g. Talkspace or BetterHelp) or an online support group. And if you don´t feel comfortable with that, talking to someone you really trust and who knows you well can be amazing. Feel free to also contact me, whenever with whatever. I´m here for you. 

Take care, you guys. Have a great day and stay here, in the moment. 


Elza BuderComment