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Emotional Eating-THE PAIN AND SHAME

Updated: Jun 3, 2023



I love food who doesn’t. I ate when I was happy, I ate when I was sad, I ate to celebrate accomplishments and I ate to overcome disappointments. You could say, I’m an emotional eater but in my view just about every person on the planet is an emotional eater. The difference is some people let emotional eating get out of control and continually use it to cope with the ups and downs of life. I was one of those people and if you’re using food to cope with stress, anxiety, boredom, or sadness then this blog is for you.


The problem with emotional eating is that it always leads to overeating and weight gain, and that’s what happened to me. As I continued to put on weight it took me out of the game of life, I was miserable and very self-conscious. Some mornings I couldn’t even look in the mirror because of the shame. I absolutely hated it when my favorite clothes didn’t fit, the jeans were too tight, and the shirts didn’t button up. People would comment “hey you’re putting on weight aren’t you, time to get down the gym”, I felt awful. And of course, the vicious cycle just continued, the more hurt feelings the more I used food to comfort, that led to more weight gain and more comments from so called friends.


Even my mother would remark on my appearance, I just felt so low. I remember walking into a gym when I was about 50 lbs. overweight and a couple of knuckleheads at the bench snickered as I waddled past to the cardio machines. I didn’t go back. I can assure you today when I walk into a gym, guys half my age glance over either in envy or respect and nobody and I mean nobody thinks I’m 55! It feels good but I’ve never forgotten the comments, the jokes, the hurtful remarks. People can be very mean, but those painful memories are hugely motivating in my quest to help as many people as possible lose weight and regain their health and happiness.


Emotional eating happens for a variety of reasons. Listen, life is stressful, turn on the TV and watch the news that’ll make anyone reach for the candy bowl for a little self-soothing. But seriously, life is hard, and we’re constantly bombarded negatively on social media, in the news, everywhere! Ukraine, mass shootings, recession, layoffs, global warming, it’s the end of the world according to the news networks. Who isn’t feeling stressed and scared? And there’s no easiest thing to do than open the freezer door and reach for the Ben and Jerrys to feel a little better about the day.



Something else I learned about my own emotional eating is that like most things it was passed down from my parents. I certainly don't blame my parents (they did the best they could) and they loved me dearly. But as a kid, my mum and dad often rewarded me with little treats of Cadbury’s chocolate for good school results, and I was never allowed to leave the table without finishing my plate. The reward of course was dessert. It might seem innocent but emotional eating has devasting effects on our health. I know because emotional eating led to the darkest period of my life and only added to my anxiety and caused waves of depression. But that’s not the case today.


So how did I break the cycle of emotional eating? Well first, I realized that I needed to show myself real compassion, I was overeating for a reason. I sought professional help to address the emotions causing the 'comfort' eating. But I also needed to take responsibility for my actions and my health, nobody was forcing food down my throat. I realized I could overcome these destructive eating patterns by finding practical steps to take each day that would become second nature. Diets didn't work for me. I'd been trying diets all my life, this needed to be a complete lifestyle change.


My next Blog 'The 9 Steps to Freedom from Emotional Eating' outlines the practical steps that I took that solved the destructive patterns of emotional eating and a new freedom around food that's led to an incredible transformation in my life.


Remember ... Change Your Food. Change Your Life.


Michael.

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