For years I struggled with emotional eating! Emotional eating was my way of using food to cope with how I was feeling. When I did not know what else to do, I knew that I could eat. If I was faced with a situation that I did not know how to deal with, it was easier to eat than to figure out how to deal with the issue. It was just so much easier to go into a room by myself and feel hopeless and just eat.. and eat… and eat…until I just didn’t want to eat anymore! It was a painful, painful habit that I had built.
You are not alone…
Sometimes people don’t want to talk about the things that they have struggled with, but I’m here today and I want to tell you that emotional eating was a big struggle of mine for a long time. I wanted to write this post because I feel like there are some of y’all out there that have this same struggle. I know emotional eating can happen for a number of reasons, but if you are anything like I was, emotional eating is your way of coping with sadness and stress. I want you to know that you are not alone! You are not a lost cause! You will not deal with this all of your life! You can overcome it, and I am proof that it is possible! Know that there is freedom around the corner just waiting on you.
There are some key things that helped me to overcome emotional eating and I want to talk about them today, in hopes that they will help you on your journey to overcoming emotional eating.
Things That Helped Me Overcome Emotional Eating
#1: Removed temptations from my house
I had to remove all of the snacks and desserts out of my house.
Boxes of brownies
Bags of chips
…you name it. If it was something that I could have emotional binges on, I had to remove it.
I had to remove these things because when I would feel emotional, I would turn to food. If the snacks and desserts were there, then I would eat them. If they were not there, then I couldn’t. This helped me to limit the things that I could run to for comfort. Determine those things and remove them from your house.
#2: Realized that food was never going to solve my problems
After each of my emotional eating episodes, whatever issue I was facing was still there shining just as bright as it was before. The only difference was that I felt worse and ended up having an internal dialogue with myself that went something like:
How could you do this again?
Better go and clean all of this mess up before someone finds out how gross you are!
What are you going to do now?
Emotional eating did not solve my problems, but it sure helped to lower my self-esteem. I had to learn that emotional eating did not help me in any way. Emotional eating hurts us, it does not help us! This realization forced me to start thinking about things that could help like:
Praying for strength
Talking to someone
Journaling my thoughts
Getting out of the house
…And sometimes just crying it out!
#3: Decided not to emotionally eat and meant it!
One day I said to myself that it did not matter if I was:
Stressed out to the max
I would not emotionally eat… I just would not! I would love to tell you that I had a well thought out plan for what I would do when I had the urge to eat emotionally, but I didn’t. I didn’t know exactly what I would do, but I knew that I was making a decision not to fall prey to emotional eating any longer. It was all I knew and all that I had in me at the time.
After I made the decision most of the time I would get into a situation where I would want to emotionally eat, and my response was:
Sometimes I would pray (Thinking back I wish I would have done this a lot more!)
Sometimes I would sit and cry until I just couldn’t cry anymore
Sometimes I would go to bed
Sometimes I would talk about the issue at hand
… the point is I decided to change. Make that decision today!
#4: Made someone aware of my struggle
I know this can be a very scary thing. You may feel a lot of shame, but believe me, making someone that you completely trust aware of your struggle will help you. For years I hid the fact that I was an emotional eater.
It wasn’t until after a couple of years of being married that I finally told my husband about my struggle. At the time I did not know how he could possibly help me, but I knew that I had a problem that I needed to talk to someone about.
What ended up happening was he started to talk with me through issues as they came up. As uncomfortable as it was being in such a vulnerable position, I was able to learn to talk through the things that I was facing, instead of immediately running to food for comfort.
It really does help to have a person that you can talk to when you are feeling down. Find your person. It matters!
#5: Was patient and had the courage to continue on
I had to decide that I would continue striving to overcome emotional eating no matter what, even if I had a slip up!
So if you have a slip up….
As soon as you realize that you are emotionally eating… STOP! I know you may feel like it’s a lost cause when you are ¾ of your way through a pan of brownies or one bite away from finishing that bag of Oreos, but STOP!
Ask yourself: “What got me to this point?”
Determine what you can do differently the next time to avoid this from happening again.
Don’t beat yourself up!
Keep at it!
Emotional eating is a habit that was not built overnight, so most of us cannot overcome it overnight. Be patient and persistent and you’ll overcome this.
Those are some of the things that helped me to overcome emotional eating. If you have any questions about anything that I mentioned, please reach out to me. I want to be your biggest cheerleader. I know how important it is to have someone in your corner, so if I can help, I want to. I want you to feel the freedom that I now have. Emotional eating may seem like a battle, and in so many ways it is, but you can conquer it. You can do it!
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