Eat to live or live to eat? Honestly, how many of us have an emotional connection (dare I say obsession) with food? I know I do and I know I’m not alone. Sometimes I feel that I am a therapist in my practice as much as an diet educator. Why this connection to food? Well, why not? Food numbs what we may be thinking, feeling, or doing. The downside to this is that it’s often a double edge sword.
When you eat when your not hungry, your saying to yourself that food is more important to you than where your at now. The anxiety, uncomfortableness, or boredom that can overwhelm us can’t be squashed by a cookie or macaroni and cheese. So why do we let it? I really believe that most individuals who are fighting an overweight or obese struggle are there for emotional reasons. Stresses and joys in our life can trigger overeating and indulgence. I’ll never understand why a tough situation doesn’t make me reach for a bowl of steamed broccoli, but white pasta seems to do the trick.
The double edge sword of this type of eating is that it doesn’t work. Maybe you can feel better after that little slice of heaven, but I’m willing to bet that it’s a very fleeting moment. Especially if weight and happiness about your appearance is a struggle. Because the second that plate is empty and the food gone… your right back to where you were before but now the feelings of guilt creep in. Everyone has thier own favorite hate words for themselves: I’m fat, I’m ugly, no wonder I’m fat… I’ve heard it all. But when you eat, you don’t think about anything else but how good to feels to eat. And then you do it again, because why not? You’ve already fallen off the wagon and then you go back for seconds. It’s a vicious cycle and I want to help.
First, you need to identify what the emotional connection is. Bad breakup? Self- loathing? Situation beyond your control? Breaking the connection with food first comes with dealing with the real problem at hand. You may not even realize your doing it, as most of my clients don’t realize they have such a profound emotional connection until we get talking.
My advice? Start a food diary, not a journal, but an emotional diary. As you write down what your eating for the day, start first with WHY. How you are feeling before the meal/snack/nibble and how you feel afterwards. Let’s check back in a week… you’ll probably have your emotional connection answer and then we can move onto the next step.