It is not surprising that many of us are self-diagnosing ourselves as emotional eaters. Whether it’s on social media, Google, or TV, we are bombarded with the inference that all eating that is associated with feelings which implies emotional eating. And simplistically talking that is correct. After all, we’re not machines or robots.
Human beings are emotional beings that unconsciously and consciously process and experience a range of emotions throughout the day. Every time we eat, whether it’s a bite of food, a meal or a feast, we bring our emotional self to that experience.
If you are feeling inquisitive, happy, sad, frustrated or angry – these are all emotions, feelings and they all enter our eating practices and influence that very experience. I would argue that it is almost impossible to eat without emotions – good or bad, positive or negative – being present.
If we are all emotional eaters then, why do some of us label ourselves as emotional eaters and seek out help?
Why is it that some of us stuff our faces with food when we are having a bad day? Or feeling alone?
Really then, emotional eating is unwanted eating behaviour that is a result of feeling feelings that we don’t like or don’t want to feel.
The truth is that all behaviour is actually a solution to something. Our behaviours are not necessarily the problem but rather the place to start looking for the answer. Especially today, with the access to the internet and answers to problems at our fingertips, we are taught and have the belief that if we know better we can do better.
If we follow this guru or that fad diet, then our behaviour will change and we will not emotionally eat, and we will shed our excess weight or have the perfect body. Sadly, knowledge doesn’t change anything, and neither does it always influence change.
In order to change our behaviour then, it is necessary to find the emotion that is driving that behaviour and understand it, address it, reframe it, and then make the necessary behavioural changes.
Behaviour is not driven by knowledge and thought alone. If it was, we would not dive into that tub of ice cream of packet of biscuits, but rather we would munch on celery and carrots. Behaviour is driven by emotion, by feeling and these are usually unconscious, and mostly not available to us in our awareness. In order to change our behaviour then, it is necessary to find the emotion that is driving that behaviour and understand it, address it, reframe it, and then make the necessary behavioural changes.
As a Mind Body Eating Psychology Coach my approach is one of empowerment and upliftment. I help you see your eating challenges as an entry point to explore some of the personal dimensions that impact your food choices, weight and health. My aim is to support you with coaching strategies and nutrition principles that are easy to implement, maintain and yield results.