I wrote a blog on this topic..I figured I would share some of my realizations with you in hopes that perhaps they will help you feel a little understood and maybe one step closer to uncovering the root of what "emotional eating" can be like... Hope it helps...
My body image issues are a mask to SO many other emotional turmoils I have buried down deep under. I have seriously learned to manifest all sources of stress and pain I feel into "food issues" because it is a familiar enemy for me to deal with. After all, I have been like this nearly my whole life. When Im thin, "Im winning".. when Im chubby, "Im losing"... but what we see here is that I'm never actually in control of my food issues, even when I AM thin. They still control me, because my diet/body size is the #1 thing I use to determine my self worth. You may feel better when you have it together, but at what cost? You get ready to go on this GREAT diet.. you're ready to make the sacrifices and lose all this weight.. but then what? Then you get to the end and you look back and realize that in the process you've missed out on family time, friend time, social time, carefree dinners that SHOULD simply be enjoyable because the name of your game has been RESTRICT, RESTRICT, RESTRICT. The goal here, at least when we REALLY look at what we are trying to accomplish lies a little deeper than wanting to "Be successful in learning to control our eating habits".. It's not control we are searching for, it's freedom from the food controlling us. And you cant find freedom by means of forcing control. What we really want is to be able to think "normally" about food. We want to be able to go to a work event/barbeque/family reunion without first being plagued by anxiety about all the food that will be tempting us there. We are already exhausted from the event, removed from the whole purpose of the event to begin with because we are obsessed and consumed by our fear of temptation. What we seek is to not control ourselves so much in these situations, but experience such a freedom from the fear of food that we no longer will HAVE to obsess. Food will be there, but we do not need to be consumed by it. If we learn to be less consumed by it, the cravings will come and go as something ordinary and simple instead of something that can overwhelm us to the utmost. What we truly wish is to be able to take it or leave it... be ok with leaving it, but ALSO be ok with taking it. And it's all about learning balance. I mean, take a look around. Take a look at the bodies of people who are NOT consumed with their body image. They go out to eat, they enjoy time with friends, have "unhealthy" snacks but often times look much better than us who are constantly trying to restrict, restrict, restrict. What we want is happiness with our bodies, our lives and within our own hearts. I have lived my entire life believing that happiness will always be found on the XS/S stack of shirts and the size 1 pants. What we really need to learn is that food should not control our lives, it should not be our enemy and it should not be our friend. It should be a mere inanimate portion of our lives not laced with all these feelings and attachments. We tend to personify foods. "This food is GOOD, this one is BAD.. this food makes me feel XYZ, and this food makes me feel ABC"... We must learn to control our reactions to food. To give it so little power over us that we no longer need to battle it for control over our own lives. ...What I found the most troubling is when I thought about what my body/diet issues mean to me. I started to think about what it would be like to be rid of them.. and then I started to realize how much of a crutch they have almost been to me. Good times or bad times, it's always been at least close to the drivers seat of my emotional/mental well-being and thought processes on any given day. I would need to find new, healthy, consistent ways to measure my self. Where would my mind be if it were free to not think about dieting/food/body all the time? I was startled to realize that I would be slightly lost if I did not think about it. It has become so ingrained in every part of every day of my life.. I would need to find new things to focus on. Weird to think, it has become so much a part of me that I would have to detach myself from it- much like ending a terrible relationship feels like. You know you are miserable, but the comfort is easier to handle than reaching out for the new and unknown. ...Im on the quest to find my balance. I need to. There is so much work to be done and I aim to find ways to heal. I could write so much more on the ideas I've started to consider and dive into lately.. but this is a blog and not a novel. I hope that this will hit home with somebody, because the lightbulb has gone off in my head. Now it's time to take the first steps to erradicate these issues.
12/10/12 12:52 P
I think this is a fairly common thing to do. I personally don't think I do this, but it seems to be hard-wired into our society. Just think: every big occasion includes a big meal... So it's probably a little more universal than just your mom rewarding you with food. I think it's a great idea to find other ways to celebrate and/or soothe yourself. After all, you are definitely not a dog.
I too was raised in a home where we were rewarded with food. If we behaved in church, we'd get to buy a hamburger, or donuts afterwards. I learned to cope with food because my mom copes with food. To this day, she suffers from depression and I know she's coping by eating.
I've managed to slowly move away from that. Last year when my grandfather passed away, instead of eating, I went on a jog. I exercised on the day after he passed, and I exercised in the hotel on the day of his funeral. I've been slowly learning to cope with my own anxiety and depression through exercise rather than running to the fridge for comfort.
Edited by: STARDUST2K4 at: 12/10/2012 (12:25)
Fitness Minutes: (240)
19 12/10/12 10:10 A
The one thing in my life that has the quickest effect on my diet is dating. Whether its a positive or negative experience I still manage to translate it into 1000 calories emoticon If its a good experience involving a lot of positive energy and compliments... i tend to celebrate with carbs and sweets. emoticon If its a negative experience that leaves me with doubt or feeling like maybe my ex is the best I will ever do... I just throw on a pizza band aid to sooth the hurt. emoticon
Why is it that my emotions are tied directly to the fridge???? I remember when we were kids... very chubby kids mind you. My mother would reward us with food. Obviously this is not a good idea. I love my mom, but part of me (the chubby part) sort of resents her for this.
To this day whenever I experience any strong emotions of success or failure my first thought is food. emoticon
I have developed a lot of coping mechanism to help me stop myself and analyze what I am doing and also help me identify what triggers me, but sometimes I just dont catch it in time. Its like I see a cookie after a rough day and I black out emoticon Only to awaken with shame and icing on my breath.
One day I would love if I celebrate or sooth with a run. Or by buying myself a cute new outfit like I used to. emoticon
I love this quote... I always feel like it was wrote for me.... "Do not reward yourself with food...you are not a dog." emoticon
Anyway, just my thought for the day. emoticon Crystal