In our series so far, I’ve given ways to prevent emotional eating. Not having to white-knuckle food is easier than trying to stop emotional eating once that pull towards food is in motion.
Yet, this is not how 99% of health and wellness experts approach emotional eating. In the same way we want to get to the root cause of our skin breakouts or anxiety, we need to understand our feelings are symptoms too.
This is how we get stuck and then don’t get results when it comes to emotional eating. We mistake our feelings as the problem instead of as intelligence, signaling an emotional imbalance.
Ever feel lonely when you want to eat? Reactive emotional eating advice tells you to call a friend to connect. But your loneliness isn’t caused by not calling your friend.
For example, a client I was working with came home after a parent support meeting for her child. She was eating out of the fridge. She knew she felt lonely. And, she didn’t feel like calling anyone.
When we stayed and explored her loneliness, she realized the loneliness came from feeling “odd parent out” and she couldn’t relate to the other parents. As a result, she avoided asking questions during the meeting. This created even more isolation and blocked any potential connection with the other parents.
By exploring her loneliness, my client was able to own her part (avoiding asking the questions) and get to the root cause of feeling lonely and eating in front of the fridge (feeling isolated in the parent support group).
Next time, she experimented with asking her questions. Three other parents said they were wondering the same thing. Not only did she not even think about going to the fridge that night, but she got new ideas (i.e., choices) to better help her child as her questions ignited a great brainstorm with the other parents, and she felt not alone and connected in this challenge.
When we get to the root cause of our feelings, we can fill our emptiness with what we really need. If we don’t, we will keep eating because emotional eating is a symptom our needs and wants aren’t being fulfilled.
When we react to these symptoms with a mismatch of “medicine” like girlfriend advice, we still end up white-knuckling food. And I believe that’s often why we don’t do these “tips and tricks.” We are hungry for deeper truth.
So, to prevent emotional eating, you need to embrace your feelings as intelligence and understand what those clues are pointing to.
If you’re interested in learning classic behaviors that generate the feelings, like loneliness, which lead to emotional eating and block connection, take this quiz.
In the results and the secret podcast episode (transcript available) that go along with it, you will be given tools to generate ideas of new behaviors you can use to prevent emotional eating. And if you’ve taken the Comfort Eating Quiz, go back and listen to the secret podcast episode! It’s super valuable.
And I’ll be back next week to offer a fun way to decode your emotions. Because who wants only food freedom when you can have life freedom too?