My first encounter with emotional eating and binge eating was when I was away from home in college. The excitement about my newfound independence also meant that I could eat whatever my heart and tummy desired. I no longer had mom over my shoulder telling me to eat more spinach and cauliflower.
I was free to roam the streets in search of Checkers (a fast food chain in the US) crispy chicken sandwich combo with curly fries and a strawberry pop and the snack aisles of the local 24 hour Walmart which was a novelty since at the time we didn’t have that in Canada.
Bugles, Pringles, licorice and sugar laden Capri Sun juice packs were my late night study buddies. Papa John’s pizza deliveries, Jack in the Box and Checkers outings became the norm rather than the occasional treat.
During my time in college, I had also experienced a devastating break up. As I tried to adjust to this new world away from home with a broken heart, I sought the comfort of food. That’s when my binge eating started and my struggle with weight snowballed.
Many diets later and after years of self-reflection, I’ve finally managed the urge to swallow my feelings. Emotional eating or binge eating is something that many people struggle with and don’t realize how much it impedes their ability to lose weight.
Emotional eating or binge eating, allows us to remove discomfort, and provides a fleeting sense of satisfaction and pleasure when you’re feeling something you don’t want to feel.
The eating choices you make comes down to a single question ‘what am I hungry for? No, it’s not like do I want a burger or pizza, it’s getting down to the emotional triggers that cause you to overeat, binge eat, or make poor food choices. It’s about transforming your relationship with food. Getting to the root cause is the only way to make lasting change and either lose or maintain weight.
You need to learn to address the emotional aspects of eating in order to nourish your mind and body.
You eat what you are.
If you feel that you’re worthless or fat, then your eating choices will reflect this. You’ll pull into your closest McDonald’s drive-thru. Instead eat according to how you want to feel, how you want to be.
Want to be fit, healthy strong and slim? Then you need to eat the foods that will nourish and support those goals.
Some common emotional triggers that cause people to overeat or binge eat are grief, anger, low self-esteem, sense of failure, stress and depression.
The average person has 60,000 thoughts a day. 80% are negative thoughts. Unfortunately, our brains are hardwired to think negative thoughts than positive ones. That’s why it’s time to change your talk track!
Look, when you kick yourself when you’re down with negative self-talk you’re only placing greater stress on yourself and make it harder to lose weight.
When you attack yourself with negative self-talk it puts your body in stress response which increases your cortisol which leads to weight gain. It also throws off your appetite which is why you reach for that pint of Haagen-Dazs or in my case Papa John’s pizza.
When you talk negatively to yourself you are actually changing your body chemistry which will make it even tougher for you to lose weight.
You have to heal your relationship with food so that you can help yourself to lose weight.
You are a beautiful human being with many wonderful traits! It’s important to reflect on those traits and celebrate them!
Even if you are struggling to lose weight instead of calling yourself names, body shaming yourself and putting yourself down, be kinder to yourself and learn to accept yourself for who you are. Yes it will always be a work in progress and sometimes the road will be bumpy but take some time each and every day to embrace and celebrate the positive parts of yourself.