If food is the highlight of your day, then you are probably living to eat rather than eating to live.
Food can easily become an accessible and engrained way in which we seek to reduce stress at the end of the day. In addition, food may provide the ‘false fix’ that insulates us from a deeper need that we are using food to fill. For example, food may be:
But know this: When a food craving doesn’t come from physical hunger – food will NEVER satisfy our true needs.
The tricky part is that using food to self-soothe in the moment provides relief – at least temporarily – or we wouldn’t keep reaching for the food under times of stress. However, this type of support in the disguise of a ‘false fix’ comes at a potentially high cost to one’s physical and mental health. Physically we may develop health issues related to chronic overeating, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Psychologically, the effects on our mental wellbeing can be just as dire in that if we are eating to numb out and disconnect from our negative emotions and experiences in life, we are also numbing ourselves to experiencing the positive emotions and experiences as well, such as passion, pleasure, and joy. Although it would be nice, we simply can’t selectively numb out our emotions. When we suppress our emotions, depression is usually bobbing its way toward us if it hasn’t already dropped anchor. Basically, depression is repression of emotion.
SO – what do we do if we find ourselves relying on food for salvation?
If food is more of a lover than a friend, then it’s time to strategically cut the co-dependent cord. And no, I don’t mean swear off the foods we love as this approach does not work for most people, but instead creates a ‘forbidden fruit’ mentality. Meaning, we will only want more of what we feel we can’t or shouldn’t eat. However, we can’t rely on willpower either, because that strategy will quickly fail due to the primal (not rational) dependency on food for coping.
So, you may be thinking – what IS the strategy? Well, the strategy will depend on the person and is based on several factors that impact our overall relationship with food, such as:
There are, however, two key strategies that can be done no matter the complexity of one’s relationship with food that will help to lessen unhealthy eating patterns:
Starting with these two strategies will help to begin the process of moving the needle toward honoring your true needs in the moment. Need more help? These strategies and much more will be taught in our two upcoming weekend intensives focused on helping people to take back the reins when it comes to their relationship with food. This weekend workshop is facilitated by yours truly and is designed to help provide an important springboard for learning to overcome emotional overeating. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions about this offering at firstname.lastname@example.org.