Let me start out by saying this, I’ve never struggled with being overweight but I have wrestled with the same demons that cause these kinds of issues. Its more important to recognize the root because symptoms can vary.
Unhealthy emotional eating has its roots in self hatred, lack of self awareness, and shame. The symptoms may be weight gain but not always.
So heres a bit of my journey with this problem...
I was the guy that “NEEDED” some sort of candy or ice cream around the house just in case I had a rough day. I could easily smash a whole pint of cookie dough ice cream in the parking lot of the grocery store when I felt down. I was your typical "emotional eater"
Now I would love to say I never do this anymore but that would be a lie. I would love to have the perfect transformation story where I now have all the answers but I don't... Truth is from time to time I still revert back to my old ways.
Those days are far and few between. I am a lot more free than I used to be and thats progress!
So here are a few key things that have helped me overcome this cycle of stuffing emotions.
1. Self Awareness and acceptance.
Simply realizing what I was doing was enough to prevent a full blown binge fest. When I got into a disagreement with my wife and my feelings were hurt, instead of instantly going to food I would talk to myself… “Adam, your feelings are hurt and thats ok.” When I began accepting the “negative” emotions the craziest thing happened.
They began to subside.
We get into trouble when do not identify WHY we are feeling a certain way. I used to be so afraid of negative emotions like shame, hurt, disappointment… that I just ignored them and pretended they weren’t there.
Nevertheless, they were their in the darkness killing my soul.
But when we identify WHY we are feeling the way we are feeling than the healing process can begin. I was so disconnected from my heart that I couldn't put my finger on certain emotions which left me feeling powerless.
I began to learn how listen to my heart and realize, "oh thats disappointment... or thats shame I'm feeling... or I feel rejected.
Something powerful happens when we validate ourselves. Shame likes to tell us we SHOULDN’T feel these negative emotions and that keeps us in bondage.
But I found that identifying these emotions and then accepting myself in the midst of it all, eases the pain and thus leads me away from the cookie dough nightmare.
Ehhh, I hate this. Its so uncomfortable yet so necessary.
The times where I am shut down and choosing not to open up are my darkest times.
But when I begin to honor my heart by validating the emotions I am feeling I muster up the courage to be vulnerable.
To me vulnerability is being honest with whats going on inside.
I usually start by being vulnerable with myself and with God.
If something someone said to me bothered me and I am ruminating over it I realize that yes, in fact, I am not as impenetrable as I thought. Once again, I must acknowledge my weakness and it humbles me. It brings me back to that place of dependence on Gods healing touch.
Yea it may feel like the last thing you wanna do when your hurting buts this is where character is built. Doing the right thing when we don’t feel like it. Opening up when all you wanna do is run away!
Trust me, its worth it. My marriage prospers when I chose vulnerability… My soul prospers when I choose vulnerability… Everything is better after going through the pain of vulnerability.
So be courageous and face your fears of rejection. You will realize that you are still loved even in the midst of your weakness, your faults, your mistakes. And that my friends, is one of the best feelings in the world.
I hope this helps you on your journey of freedom. I know that these two things have helped me process my emotions in a healthy way vs stuffing them. Because when we stuff emotions the pain is still there and we don't like pain. We will turn to whatever we know eases the pain. So chose vulnerability and you will discover a deep freedom in your life with food!