Why Emotional Eating Is Not The Answer

Why I vowed to eat a halo top ice cream every single night if I wanted one. 

It’s safe to say I was an emotional eater for the majority of my life. If I was stressed, I ate. If I was sad, I ate. Guess what I did when I was bored. I ate! For years I coped with sugary, high carb junk food. For those who aren’t aware, emotional eating is, in fact, a method of coping. It’s just a negative one. My rationalization was always, “Well at least I’m not using drugs or drinking.”

About a month ago I decided to take back my life and reframe how I viewed food. I wanted to eat food because I was hungry and not because there was emotion behind it. I wanted to feel good, and I wanted to nurture my body. My wellbeing had become a priority for the first time in probably forever. 

I knew it would be hard, and I knew I needed to take appropriate steps to make this a lifestyle change and not a diet. I know me, and I knew if I restricted all the yummy stuff, I’d fail miserably. So I committed to eating one Halo Top Sea Salt Caramel ice cream every night IF I wanted one. I mean it had to be better than the Ben, and Jerry’s I was consuming or the Large Blizzards I devoured when life felt too big for me to handle (I have no shame in my ice cream game), right?!? 

Knowing I could have this delicious treat at the end of the day was the carrot I needed to help me not eat out of emotion throughout the day. What surprised me though, was how often I didn’t even want it. As time went on, my body started to feel good, and I didn’t “crave” sweets as much. When I felt a sudden urge to eat, I always checked in with my self and asked, “Is there an emotion behind this?” 90% of the time there was, so I’d cope in a positive way and go about my day. 

The moral of the story is this, emotional eating temporarily numbs emotions, but typically results in more emotional pain in the end. For me, it soothed my emotion for a brief minute but typically resulted in me having a gut ache and struggling emotionally over weight gain. If you identify with what I said and want to break the cycle, I want to challenge you. 

Before you go to the pantry, fridge, drive through or down the bakery aisle at the store, ask your self this, “Is there an emotion behind this?” If so, scroll through my feed, pick out a coping skill, and utilize it. Replace the negative coping skill of food with a healthier skill.

P.s.- this is not a diet post. If you are happy as a clam and your day is just groovy, by all means, eat whatever you want. If you are miserable, and that bag of chips your consuming is adding fuel to the fire, snag a skill and practice it! 

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