We’re back today with Intuitive Eating Principle #7: Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food.
This one is tough and takes a lot of time, intention, and practice. Just like all of the other steps in the Intuitive Eating journey it doesn’t happen overnight. Emotional eating is something most people have experienced at some point in their life. Whether it be having a cookie after a stressful day at work or eating ice cream after a break up. Food is meant to be enjoyed, and certain foods do make us feel better physiologically. It is no wonder that so many of us turn to food to cope with our emotions. I know I’ve been there. There have been times in my life where I used food to cope and was left feeling worse eventually, even if there was a moment of feeling better. The below excerpt from the Intuitive Eating book describes this well.
Find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort or the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.
While emotional eating is part of normal eating and will more than likely happen in all of our lives again. When eating becomes our only coping skill or is happening more than occasionally that is a good indicator that there is something that needs to be addressed. It is important to have other coping skills and be able to honor our feelings in other ways. This is something that I work with clients on a lot. I also always recommend a good therapist as well so that clients can dive into the deeper issues and lead to healing their relationship with food, themselves and their feelings.
Here are some questions to consider if you think you may be turning to food for emotional reasons.
- Am I hungry?
- Where do I feel the hunger?
- What am I feeling? What emotion?
- What do I need?
- Will the food help? Short-term and long-term?
- Can I sit with this feeling/emotion?
- What would it be like if I did not eat right now?
- What else can I do?
There are a lot of different ways to deal with our emotions and needs without using food. Here are some ideas!
- Call a friend or loved one
- Turn on some music
- Go outside, feel the sunshine
- Play with your pet
- Read a book
- Go for a walk
- And many, many more
Intuitive Eating is great for everyone and offers a lot to those who emotionally eat. It explores all of the facets that contribute to how and why we eat and not just what we eat, which is so important! If you would like help exploring Intuitive Eating or have questions you can reach me here!