Life without Ice Cream

Emotional eating. Yeah. Were all guilty of this at some point. I mean, can you blame us? So many different cultures use food to celebrate pretty much every occasion under the sun. You got a promotion? Lets go drink 3,500 calories in liquor and eat cake. Youre getting married? Lets stuff ourselves with baked ziti and eat cake. You won the Showcase Showdown on the Price is Right? Lets eat cake in your brand new hot tub! I swear, theres always cake, and always a reason to celebrate with food.

However, there are other situations, perhaps not joyous, where people self-medicate with food. Your boyfriend dumped you? Break out the Ben and Jerrys. Someone close to you passed away? Eat a box of those terrible Russell Stover chocolates your parents used to get you for Valentines Day. Feeling ugly, fat, and self-loathing? Eat a box of Capn Crunch and destroy the roof of your mouth in the process.

Food. Without it, we cant live. We all know this. But somehow, we have to learn to have a healthy relationship with the stuff. More so, we have to learn not to turn to food during times of adversity. Its easier said than done. Lets face it- food is comforting. Sure. It wont break up with you, or leave you for someone better, and it will be there for you when youre lonely at 10:00 at night watching re-runs of Roseanne in your frumpy comfy pants. Its a constant in your life, and it is readily available to you whenever you are feeling weak.

The honest truth is it wont help you solve your problems, or fix your mended heart. It wont bring back your loved one that passed, and it certainly wont make you feel any better about yourself. How many times have you emotionally ate and then felt awesome afterwards? Im betting on zero. I will bet on the fact that you probably feel guilty, angry, disappointed, defeated, and self-loathing. This negative thinking is only going to add momentum to a vicious, continuing cycle. You deserve more than that. We all do.

So how do we do this? How do we break up with bad food habits and build healthy ones? A lot of people suggest constructive ways to beat emotional eating, and focus energy elsewhere. They are good suggestions, dont get me wrong. But when youre upset, angry, depressed, (insert any emotion that may cause you to emotionally eat), the last thing you may want to do is go take a walk, soak in a bath, read a book, or talk to a friend. Sometimes you just want the spoon full of crap in your mouth.

What you need to do before you actually put that spoon into your mouth is stop and think. Really think. Force yourself to slow down (This may very well be difficult to do, at first). Will eating X when I am feeling Y make me feel better? Will eating this help me? Lets break it down. Why not allow yourself to acknowledge your feelings, instead of eating them? Theres no use in bottling emotions up or pretending they dont exist. You are human- feel! If you never allow yourself time and space to feel, and to heal, it will manifest inside you and when that erupts you may feel deeper in the hole than before. I would bet that once you stop and think about the situation at hand, those previously mentioned suggestions would now come in handy. You might come to the realization that you do not want to eat your feelings and decide that doing something productive, creative, or useful may prove to be more beneficial to you. Maybe you realize the pint of Ben and Jerrys wont help you change your situation, and you rather feel better, not worse, by taking a nice, long walk. Its psychological, folks, and if you just slow down to think, I am certain you can overcome this and find a cathartic outlet in a positive way.

Understanding the psychology behind choices, and feelings is a huge, crucial step and it is to be praised! If it doesnt come easy to you, or you struggle with it, its okay. Change takes time, but know that with change, you are growing. Soon it will be easier to say no to emotional eating, and just by saying, No, you are creating a healthier you, inside and out.

Stay tuned and join me on my adventure!