There are days and occasions when you may ask yourself how your relationship is with other people or even yourself, but have you ever wondered what your relationship with food is like? Why is it that a high number of the population suffer from obesity? What does emotional eating have to do with this? What is emotional eating?
Emotional eating is a fairly common phenomenon in which food is used as a tool for dealing with strong emotions. Emotional eaters are generally unaware of how their emotions are impacting food intake.
Janet a mother of five from East London shares her experience on what it is like dealing with emotional eating and how she is healing from it.
You know exactly what I’m talking about, because you, like me, have probably tried it all portion control, no eating at night, and low carbs to low fat. You pile on the rules and you stick to it for a while and then something happens, you have a stressful day at work, you get some bad news, you get angry at somebody who you cannot express your anger to or for me it was dealing with a household of seven people not to mention the son who does not live with me but still uses my house as a place to pass time with his friends and thinks it’s a supermarketJanet - East London
I like many people enjoy things that are bad and unhealthy for me and the fact that I live in an environment where I am surrounded by unhealthy food options makes my mission even harder. What you have to understand is my relationship with family and friends is always up and down like so many households you sometimes want to strangle your partner for not wiping away the crumbs after making toast or your kids constantly nagging you about unimportant things, throw in the emotions when you are going through all this and that makes me a unhappy bunny. I am also an obsessive compulsive cleaner it takes me hours to tidy my house but minutes sometimes even seconds to trash it and of course I’m the one who ends up cleaning up.
Then the emotional flood comes, the desire to eat even if you’ve had your allotted points/carbs/calories for the day, even if your body feels stuffed and you know you shouldn’t want more and of course you’ve been taught that it’s your fault so you feel guilty for the binge and then you just want to eat more. I know this because I have been struggling with this for a long time I have tried every diet that you can imagine from weight watchers to diet pills and even my own drink a lot of coffee diet I know all too well what it’s like to live on the emotional and physical roller coaster of dieting also those moments of emotional and physical stress that sent me into bingeing behaviour that I tried to hide from even myself.
I learned that I cannot trust my body or the signals my body was sending out there I also learned somewhere down the line that it’s not safe to express certain emotions whether that be sadness or anger even happiness I never learned how to express what I needed to express. It has not been easy to heal from this and I am not fully healed as there is still a lot of work to do and in my heart of hearts I knew this was not the way I wanted to live so I made a deep commitment to doing whatever it took to change the cycle of emotional eating for not just me but my children and family.
Today I eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full. I eat delicious food and love myself for it, I look in the mirror and see myself with love, owning my body and the depth of who I am and even though I am surrounded by unhealthy fast food outlets I have a massive support team who appreciate who I am and what I am going through and having real support is the key between a struggling emotional eater and a woman who is able to heal from emotional eating.
In regards to finding solutions on how to stop the first step is to try and figure out what specific emotions spur you on to eat more, try and keep a detailed food record including what you are feeling every time that you eat is a good first step. Once you know what is causing you to over eat, it is easier to figure out what you need to take the place of food. An obvious way to prevent unhealthy eating is to not keep unhealthy food in your household but then the problem I faced was the numerous chicken, kebab and burger places on my doorstep so to try and distract me from all this my G.P referred me to the gym but even that was a task because the only way I could get there was to pass all the temptation I was trying to avoid.
Do not be so hard on yourself if you slip up from time to time, instead try and recover as quickly as possible and look back as a way of finding out more about how your emotions and diet are linked together.