Welcome back to the show. So today we’re going to cover all about eating that feels out of control and knowing that probably something needs to give, because there needs to be an end point to this eating. We’re going to talk about identifying any of the underlying emotions that may be going on. Understanding why you’re doing the eating, and then trying to figure out ways to replace the eating with something other than food that will provide you much longer satisfaction than the eating alone.
So listen in…
A few years ago, I went, well, actually it had gone on for a couple of years. I had a shitstorm of a few years, and I don’t know if any of you can relate? I’m sure all of you can relate, where I felt like I would normally manage my emotions with exercising. It would help me kind of manage through help me, you know, deal with anxiety that I struggle with and just kind of overall help keep me centered.
When I was pregnant with my son, as I’ve said previously, I fractured my hip. And so that recovery is still ongoing four years later. So I was unable to have that stress relief in terms of exercise. And so I found myself, during this, you know, during this difficult period of my life of really having nowhere or nothing, just no outlet in terms of dealing with the emotions.
And so it led me to just bake all the time and then consequently eat all of the food. It was just a way to kind of help, you know, get through all the anxieties and the angst and the loneliness and the, and the fear and the sadness that I was feeling. And so I recognized during that time that I was doing it, but I just couldn’t help myself because it made, it just made everything feel better. And I would feel great in the moment, right. I would be like, Oh my gosh, I’m getting something. And that, you know, when you’re taking the bite into the food, how great it feels, but then ultimately, you know, the next day, a few days later, I would just beat myself up. Like, I can’t believe I did that. Why did I do that? And so I knew that at some point I would have to kind of get to this place of trying to understand why I was eating and really have another outlet for the emotions that I was feeling that were not related to food.
How many of you can relate to that? How many of you have had a time in your life that it’s just been so hard and you’re just trying to manage through and eating seems to be the only thing that’s comfortable, where the only thing that really like gives you that feeling of some kind of peace or joy, or it gives you some kind of comfort in the moment when everything feels horrible You may even be feeling that way now. So that’s why it’s important. I thought that we would talk about really trying to figure out what the underlying emotion is, and then trying to identify some strategies to help that so that you can have a better understanding of what’s going on. And then once you understand and identify the emotion, then trying to figure out if there’s something else that you can replace the eating with that will give you greater satisfaction.
So when we talk about, you know, looking at your life right now, and maybe even looking back at periods where you really struggled, because you had some hard times going on, I want you to try to figure out what some of those emotions were. Because when we talk about eating and taking control of our eating, we first need to identify some of the emotions that we may be now, or that what you may have felt in the past. So some of the emotions that I can think of that are probably a little bit more common would be if you’re scared, if you’re worried, if you’re really mad or angry at somebody, and you’d feel like that you can’t have a conversation with them. And so eating tends to be a really quick and easy way to kind of find some comfort in that time. If you feel lonely or hopeless. If you feel like anxious, or if you’re procrastinating, I know this is something that I do when I don’t want to do something.
I find myself eating because I don’t want to do the very thing that I know I need to do, that will make me feel better. I don’t know if any of you have felt that same way? If you’re tired, you know, I think sometimes we can even eat one more happy because I think for a lot of us, it’s very hard to feel joy and to maintain that level of joy. It may be a very uncomfortable feeling. And so even though we feel really happy, that that can still, you know, lead to some eating.
You may be someone who uses food for like, for bribery, whether it’s for yourself, “Oh, if I eat good today, then I can have this cookie”. You may be doing the bribery with your kids. If you do this, then I’ll give you this. I know I’ve done that. Or you can use food as a celebration.
I think we do that, right? Like everything pre COVID anyway, everything, a lot of meals and social event events and celebratory events tend to be centered around food. And so all of this is fine. It’s not meant to judge any of these things or any of the feelings that you feel. It’s just trying to identify an emotion that you feel, and then trying to figure out how, why you, you know, why you, it’s just trying to kind of linking the emotions to the behavior so that it can be changed so that you can feel more in control of what you’re eating.
So now that you’ve figured out what the emotion is, whatever it is from what, you know, the list that we just went through, trying to figure out, like, what does food do in that moment? So are you using food as a way to self-soothe? Are you using food as a way to reward yourself? Are you using food as some kind of stress relief? Are you using food? You know, just to calm yourself? Are you using it to avoid something? So again, you know, like, you know, that you have a whole bunch to do and it feels insurmountable. And so then food might take that place of being like, okay, let me eat a little bit so that I feel like I can conquer this challenge. Or are you using food as some kind of avoidance mechanism? Like again, like, let me eat something before I can do the thing that I really need to do.
And I think a lot of us do this thing where we’re, because we’re avoiding feeling something. So, you know, any of the emotions, whether you don’t want to feel sad or you don’t want to feel lonely, or you don’t want to feel bored, that’s something too, you may be trying to avoid feeling the feeling.
So once you identify what feeling you are feeling and then identifying kind of why you’re, you’re eating with it, then we have to try to figure out how to replace the eating with a non eating activity. Because again, eating is only going to make you feel good in the moment, but in the long run, it’s going to be really hard to maintain some sense of like prolonged feeling good. So the eating just help for a couple of minutes, or it may be help for like an hour or two hours, but then ultimately it comes like with the eating and that’s how you’re managing it. Ultimately it tends to come with some shame or some guilt or some form of feeling like you need to punish yourself because you’ve eaten and you’ve eaten more than you wanted to, to help with the emotion.
So if we can really dig out what the emotion is that you’re feeling, and then kind of, we can really start to figure out ways to manage the emotions so that you get relief of that emotion. And then you also get greater satisfaction for relief within, you know, not just a minute or two minutes or two hours that you feel something that’s much more sustainable. And something that you can tap into whenever you feel these feelings again. So for instance, if you’re somebody who eats a lot when you’re tired, which I think is probably most of us, it’s knowing first identifying that you’re tired. And that’s the reason why you’re eating, or you’re not thinking how many of us when we’re tired. Like the last thing we care about is to actually, if you’re like, you know what you’re putting in your mouth, you’re just so tired, you may just be trying to get through the day. And so if that for you is a, is a common feeling right. Then how do we combat that? How do we, the eating that’s associated with being tired?
Well, the obvious answer would be to get more sleep. So you’d want to look at things that are going to help you get more sleep. That would be the solution. So that might be, you know, making sure that when you go to bed at night, that you’re in a cool dark room and that might mean that you can’t have your iPhone or some kind of phone or electronic that has blue light and be on that electronic before you go to bed. That may mean decreasing, any caffeine that you’re consuming during the day, because if you consume a lot of it before bedtime, it may keep you awake.
That may mean avoiding alcohol, which may make you sleep initially. But then in the long-term you may not get a good night’s sleep. That may mean exercising throughout the day to enhance your sleep schedule and make it better. And it just might, I mean, in general, that you need some kind of schedule when it comes time to eat it. It may mean that you need some kind of schedule when it comes to sleeping so that you have a routine every night and you follow that and that helps give you better sleep.
When it comes to, if you’re eating because you’re stressed well, then that, then that mechanism would be different than if the emotion that you’re feeling is that you’re stressed. Well, that’s going to be a completely different, it’s just going to be a different way that you’re going to deal with stress than it is if it’s another emotion.
So for somebody who’s feeling stressed, especially if you’re at work, it means, you know, taking a moment to take a deep breath or a few deep breaths, and just centering yourself. That could mean going for a walk while you’re at your desk, or, you know, taking a walk outside. That may mean sitting in the moment and journaling and writing out exactly how you feel. And that technique may be just that you need to take some time, identify that you’re stressed and then, you know, breathe in and then go from there.
So it’s important to understand what the underlying emotion is, so that you can figure out how to combat that and how you can create a strategy that’s not based around eating in terms of having some long-term feeling that you’re able to control your emotions and that you’re able to combat this whole idea of eating because it makes you feel good and it’s important to identify the emotion involved so that you can figure out what non-food activity you can do.
So if you’re feeling like some ideas, when I talk about stress reduction include things like playing with your kids, or maybe you have some pets that you really love hanging out with and playing with. Maybe it’s walking. Maybe it’s reading a book or listening to something on the radio that makes you feel calmer. Maybe that means classical music. Maybe it means some other kind of distraction, like learning something or listening to a podcast or listening to an audio book. Maybe for you it means going into nature and there’s just something about being outside that helps you center and focus and feel like you’re connected in some way. Maybe it could be meditating. I have a great episode on here with Jenn Boileau. I’ll leave that episode in the show notes, but Jenn talks all about meditating and that’s a really good thing that you could do too.
I know meditation sounds really scary, but in the episode, she really goes through what meditation can be. And just taking a few deep breaths is considered meditation. It could be going to get a massage. Maybe that’s something that is helping deal with whatever emotion you’re feeling. It could mean that you’re having some time with your family and that you need to have family or friend time because you’re feeling disconnected. And that time is really important to reconnect. Maybe journaling will be something that will help you. It’ll help you see what you’re feeling and how to manage that feeling. Journaling is really good for that to kind of brain dump all of the anxieties or emotions that you’re feeling. And then really feeling like you have a little bit more control of your life. It could mean doing yoga or just hanging out in general and being social.
So it’s going to be whatever you feel like you need to do to feel like you have more control, and what’s going to help you first manage the feelings. And then as you go through that, what’s going to help in the longterm help really feel like you have more control over those feelings. So the most important thing to do first is to really check in with your feelings. So many of us, we just go through life. We just go from one task to the next task, and we don’t ever really stop to think about how we feel or to check in with what we’re going through or the emotions that you’re feeling.
I can’t tell you how many times I go throughout the day and mornings are rough in our household. And I find myself by the time I get to work, I am holding my breath. And I’ve probably been doing that for a few hours, but I don’t even recognize it because I’m just trying to get one task done onto the next. So maybe that’s something that you can start to do is just check in with yourself and it doesn’t have to be anything crazy. It would just be like set a timer every few hours on your phone and just see, okay, how am I feeling? Just a way that you can really, you know, combat that emotion and figure out what that emotion is before you get into a place that you feel like you’re so out of control with your feelings, which then leads to subsequent out of control with your eating too.
Knowing doesn’t equal doing. That’s another thing we talk about on here, right? So just because you know that you know what to do when it comes to eating, it doesn’t mean that when time gets really stressful and you feel like your emotions are everywhere, that you’re going to know what to do.
And so it’s really important to kind of have an idea of what the emotions that you struggle with are, so that when you feel them, you have a plan already in place on how to manage them. So if you know that you’re somebody who is at work and you get stressed, try to have some techniques when you’re at work to handle that stress, whether it means a moment to deep breath, whether that means to put some song on the radio at your desk, while you sit there, that’s going to calm you. Knowing what the emotion is, will help you get to the point that you can really, you know, figure out how to manage it when things start to get really tough. That management will help you feel much more in control.
Another thing is when you’ve identified, what the emotion is that you’re feeling to know that that’s okay, what the emotion is, you’re feeling it’s totally normal. And it’s totally great that you’re taking the time to figure out what the emotion is. Most people don’t do that. And most people don’t take the time in a day to figure out how they’re feeling. So you’re going to be ahead of the game. If you can identify how you feel, and then also have a game plan to counteract that feeling or to help manage that feeling.
And then lastly, you know, I want to remind you to be patient. If you’re new to this whole idea of listening to what your body is telling you, and if you’re learning how to, you know, negotiate and navigate this, this journey, because it’s not easy, this journey into whole health and creating a better whole health balance, it’s not easy. It takes time. It’s not like all of a sudden you’re going to be like, Oh, I’ve, you know, developed all these strategies to make my eating under control, it’s not. It’s going to be something that you practice first, you identify with the feeling is, and then you counteract that with something you may not even figure out for a few times, what really helps you manage that emotion.
And so it just takes some time and it just takes some practice, but you know, it is all within your control. The more you practice the behavior, the more you figure out how to, how to find a non-food approach to dealing with your emotions, the easier it is to negotiate and to navigate that. It just becomes much easier and it will help you feel more in control, but it’s just knowing that it’s okay, that it might take some time and that that’s normal. And that’s part of the process. This journey into whole health is not easy. It takes time. You will have times that you feel like you’re completely failing, and you’re going to have some times where you feel like you’re rocking the shit out of it and that’s normal. And so just stick with it.
The thing that matters the most is that you’re consistent. Consistency is the key and all of, you know, in all things that are going to change for the longterm. And remember my friends it’s progress over perfection. I’ll see you back here again next week friends. Thanks for listening.
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