In and of themselves, feelings and emotions aren’t good or bad, helpful or unhelpful, they are just expressions – it’s what we do with them that counts most!
Like most emotional eaters and over eaters, we consciously or unconsciously use our emotions as a trigger or reason to eat which either rewards the emotion or punishes it. Either way, WE ultimately pay the price with weight, health, increased emotional responses or at worst, irreparable dis-eases.
So, as I mentioned in my blog, the problem is not what we eat, but why we eat and in order to bring about any lasting change, we MUST address the emotional triggers regardless if they are positive or negative emotions.
So, lets get started shall we?
In this blog, I am going to focus in on emotional eating for reward. Lets start with the good stuff!!
I’d love to know if this scenario sounds familiar to you:
You’ve just scored an amazing win either at work, in your business, your family, or, you’ve been given something you’ve wanted for a long time and you’re just lit up like a Christmas Tree about it. You may even have achieved a milestone in your diet plan or graduated from school or study. Perhaps things in your relationship are starting to look up or you kids have achieved something fabulous…. It really doesn’t matter what it is that has occurred, you’re in a great place and you know it! You have worked hard, you deserve this feeling and you want it to last forever! So………let’s celebrate!!
You may go out for dinner and do the full three courses, you may have that extra few glasses of celebratory champagne topped with a decadent block of chocolate and strawberries. Maybe it’s even a trip to the local organic café and you order up big! Nut milk coffee with oat biscuits, organic chicken salad with spelt bread and extra dressing, a side of sweet potato fries, a large vegie juice, a big wedge of cashew cheese cake and another nut milk coffee (Ok, that’s where I am right now. I’m at an organic café and watching a woman who is quite overweight making love to a feast in front of her which is pretty healthy but when it’s all taking up 4 settings and she is here by herself, it’s over eating big time!).
Or your win may not even be that significant, but you feel great anyway, and you wonder over to the fridge, scouring it for morsels of opportunity to feel even better and indulge in the internal acknowledgement that food delivers faithfully. It doesn’t matter if no one else acknowledges your achievement, your special friend, food, will always be there for you….. right?
Oh it’s so sad as I write this blog because seeing it in writing in front of my eyes makes me see the ludicracy of the relationship I’ve had with food. It became my addiction, my confidant, my lover, my comfort and my greatest fan!
When we achieve something that we think is awesome, it’s the Dopamine in our brain that makes it feel fantastic. As a natural habituated response, we want that feeling to last, so we find food that immediately triggers the brain to release more dopamine, and for as long as our stomach can handle it, we continue the onslaught because each time we reach for another mouthful, another burst of Dopamine in injected into the bloodstream and we feel fabulous!
So, how can we feed this need to sustain the awesome feeling of achievement without using food as our addictive/addicted response?
Well, it takes effort and….. it is most certainly achievable!
Here are a few steps to help get us started:
- Recognise when you feel ready to reward yourself. Pay attention to the emotional responses you’re experiencing. Don’t allow them to occupy space in your body rent-free! Emotions are like squatters, they will turn up unannounced, sometimes uninvited and stay for an indefinite period of time if the accommodation is left unchecked. So, it’s time to begin examining your emotions and their comings and goings so that you remain the land-lord! They can also leave an incredible mess, trash the house and leave you with a lot of ‘clean-up’ if they are the destructive types!
- Become aware of your habituated responses. Just pay attention to them. Initially, don’t try to change anything. Just notice what you do, when you do it, and how it feels as you’re doing it. Perhaps you can even journal this process so you have more than your memory to rely on. That would certainly be my recommendation because our minds can be forgetful at best and deceitful at worst and if you could trust your mind to give you the way out of this way of operating around food, it would have done it for you already!! Bitter pill to swallow, but true!
Dive deep into the message that drives you and give a powerful voice to the inspiration inside! Hold nothing back as you move the hearts and minds of millions!