In this episode Molly takes a closer look at emotional eating. Contrary to popular belief, emotional eating is not just a symptom of depression, it can be a reaction to a large range of emotions and can be easily misidentified. Here we define emotional eating as any time you turn to food or drink as a way of escaping. The harsh reality is though you may find temporary relief, all of those emotions are still there, rising to the surface and ready to disrupt until they are handled.
When your brain connects desire with reward, it becomes a habit. Because of this it is easy to get in the habit of connecting food and drink to times when you’re feeling down, stressed, overwhelmed or even celebratory. In order to break that habit, it requires you to take conscious stock of your thought patterns and be aware of what emotions are bubbling at the surface.
Molly shares three great tips for interrupting a cycle of emotional eating and gives tangible examples for how listeners can begin to be aware of their relationship to food and begin to sit with and process the emotions behind it. It’s something you can do on your own or something that can be beneficial do alongside the support of a coach.
If you’re interested in the support or accountability a one-on-one coach provides, you can set up a free discovery call with Molly here.
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When Molly started to change habits around eating and drinking, she realized all of those emotions were still there waiting and rising to the surface
When you turn to food or alcohol as a way to mask how you feel you don’t actually handle the emotion.
Any time you turn to food when you’re not actually hungry, the emotion doesn’t go anywhere you just layer more on.
Instead of sitting with the desire and the uncomfortableness of it, you eat (or drink) as a way to escape that desire and then you create a habit.
The feeling you get is a reward and the brain connects that with desire and it becomes a habit. Your brain is looking for ways to motivate you any time you’re not willing to sit with an emotion, whatever that is.
Sometimes you have multiple emotions at once
When you aren’t willing to sit with one emotion, it brings on more
Tempts you to indulge an emotion instead of dealing with
When you eat or drink something you think you shouldn’t have, instead consider that things happened exactly as they should be.
It’s natural for your brain to offer up desire, it’s important for you to spend time with that emotion.
Steps to changing emotional eating or drinking
Identify what’s happening
Being aware of situations where you ate or drank more than you wanted to. Try to understand what happened.
Identify how you felt in the moment as much as possible and label it
Be willing to be with your emotions
Experience momentary discomfort
Allowing and being present with the emotion
Give yourself 5 minutes when you feel something you want to escape, instead of going to eat or drink
Notice where the tension is be curious about it
Don’t judge the feeling
Judgement amplifies desire
Detach from the thoughts and notice your physical reactions. Let it drift away.
Be curious about the next time you have an urge or desire and consider what it would be like to just be present instead of giving in.
“Loving food and wanting to eat it is also emotional eating because love and desire is an emotion.”
“Emotional eating is using food as a way to escape your feelings”
“Habits around overeating overdrinking start with a situation you’ve thought about … instead of sitting with that feeling you go to food. The more you practice it the more automatic it becomes”
“See situations as an essential part of the learning process. When you start adding blame and shame and feeling bad, it takes longer … and makes it more difficult for you to really learn”
“Every time we continue to engage in the thoughts we have about the feeling, we recreate and exacerbate the feeling.”
Links & Resources
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