I'll be brief and I'm not gonna sugarcoat this, because I love you. And I love me. And I've already spend years and years perfecting eating in shame, chronically dieting, binge eating and listening to everyone else, except me, when it came to my relationship with food. I've done all this, so you don't have to. You're welcome :)
If we ever hope to break free of food rules, diet culture and body image issues, we need to be willing to redirect and see things differently. Amen?
I'm assuming (sorry) that somewhere, somehow, you learned from someone's Great Aunt Beverly that Emotional Eating is something to be avoided, ashamed of and even punished for.
The act of putting a Milky Way or a Ding Dong (does anyone eat those anymore?) in your face because you're stressed is somehow a reflection of who you are and how you have no discipline and you're ruining your life.
First of all, it's not true. It's not true. Again, it's NOT true.
The problem is not that we are emotional eaters; the problem is us confusing 'emotional eating' with 'shameful eating'.
Let's explore the difference...
I AM AN EMOTIONAL EATER WHEN I...
* eat when I'm bored
* eat past the point of fullness because the meal taste so good
* eat when I'm not hungry, so that I don't miss out on family dinners or outings, where everyone else is eating
* think about food/plan my next meal while I'm eating a current meal or have just eaten
Now, watch for the subtle but distinct difference between
Emotional Eating and Shameful Eating:
I AM A SHAMEFUL EATER WHEN I...
* eat when I'm bored...and consider myself to be "bad" for it.
* I eat past the point of fullness because the meal taste so good...and I feel compelled to exercise and burn off what I ate or I promise myself somewhere deep inside that I will never do this again.
* I eat when I'm not hungry, so that I don't miss out on family dinners or outings, where everyone else is eating...and I end up bingeing because of my belief that if I eat when I'm not hungry I have failed intuitive eating/willpower/listening to my body perfectly.
* I think about food/plan my next meal while I'm eating a current meal or have just eaten...and I am unable to find pleasure in my present meal. In fact, I feel distracted, displeased, anxious or irritable until my next meal.
Friends. Not only is Emotional Eating not the enemy, it is NECESSARY, because food is love. It is comfort. It is meant to be pleasurable and deeply enjoyed- why else do we have taste buds?? It's like, why would we thousands have nerve endings on our genitalia if sex was ONLY meant for procreation?? It's the same. And also I wanted an excuse to mention sex stuff.
Our relationship with food is complex and fascinating and infuriating and dazzling. Take my advice, just for today: (Did you even ask for my advice?) Be proud, so utterly proud, of your ability and your desire to eat with your emotions. To be connected to the earth, its bounty and the people who inhabit it, in such a special way. That's all you need to do today.
You with me? Yikes? Hallelujah? Meh?