7 Compassionate Reasons to Get Emotional Eating Help
When you have a tough day, do you face down the fridge instead of face your feelings? Do you find yourself halfway through a pizza before even realising you were eating it?
If you are feeling out of control of your eating habits, it might be time for some emotional eating help.
If left unaddressed, emotional eating habits can turn into regular binge eating or disordered eating, but the good news is – there IS help. You can and should feel in control of your food and comfortable in the body you’re in. And that’s what emotional eating help is all about.
Through emotional eating help, you can learn to develop healthy eating habits, and examine the triggers that led you to emotionally eat in the first place. You can heal your relationship with your body, say goodbye to diets for good, and find true food freedom.
Are you ready?
Before we discuss all the ways emotional eating help can change your life, let’s make sure you understand the question: ‘What is emotional eating?’ That way, you can identify emotional eating habits in yourself, and take the steps to overcome them.
What is emotional eating?
Many people wrongly assume that emotional eating is due to lack of self-control. But that’s rarely the case. Emotional eating can stem from anything from work stress and relationship struggles to past traumas, body hatred and even pure boredom!
At the end of a hectic day, I know it can feel rewarding and soothing to tuck into a jar of cookies.
I’ve been there.
But eating your feelings doesn’t make them go away, and that same cookie binge can leave you feeling guilty and disgusted right afterwards. Then, your guilt might cause you to wake up early, skip breakfast and spend a little extra time in the gym to “burn the calories.”
Once you get started, you can end up in a seemingly endless cycle of dieting and restricting calories. Only to give in and eat yourself into oblivion during your next moment of weakness or cheat meal.
In many cases, this binge eating cycle can actually damage your body’s natural cues that let you know when you are hungry or full.
You literally become unable to hear or trust your body.
And that’s why it becomes a vicious cycle and hard to get out of.
If you find yourself constantly looking for the next diet trend only to fall off the bandwagon during an emotional eating episode only to feel shame over your eating habits, you may need some guidance to change your behaviour.
To stop the endless replay of restricting and bingeing, it’s important to find healthier ways of coping with emotions and learning how to become more in tune with your body.
It’s like turning up the volume on your body’s voice. But after months, years and maybe even decades of putting this voice on mute, you may have forgotten what it sounds like. You may need emotional eating help to truly break through to food freedom.
7 reasons to get emotional eating help
Learning how to stop emotional eating is monumental and life-changing. You will overcome so much more than your eating habits. Many of my clients leave my group coaching and 16-week intensive programme with healed relationships to food, friends, family and self.
Here are just some of the best reasons to find freedom in your life through emotional eating help.
1. To learn healthy ways to address your emotions
Do you find yourself racing to the snack cupboard when you’re feeling down or otherwise upset? Emotional eating is a normal and natural response – sometimes. But food should not and cannot be your only way to cope with emotions, both good and bad.
The first step to overcoming emotional eating is to find other methods of dealing with emotions like stress, guilt, shame, grief, anger, loneliness or boredom.
First and foremost, it’s important to be able to sit in your feelings and truly FEEL them. Pushing feelings down and away and trying to fill the void with food will never ever heal you, my dear.
Truly letting your feelings move through you can be very hard.
And if you’ve been avoiding difficult feelings for a long time, then it can be extremely difficult – and maybe even impossible – to deal with on your own. That’s why it’s so important to have a trusted, caring professional to offer emotional eating help.
This person should do more than create a meal plan for you.
That’s just another diet.
No, this person should be an intuitive eating coach and so much more in order to guide you through those overwhelming and confusing emotions that may come up during this journey.
With emotional eating help, you can find other ways to cope with heavy emotions. These outlets could be journaling, meditating, going for a walk, practising yoga, kickboxing, reading a book, painting, or practising positive self-talk. Or all of them!
It will take time to shift your mindset from automatically reaching for food to engaging in other forms of stress relief, so be gentle with yourself and experiment to find what works for you.
2. To address past traumas
Many times, your emotional eating or binge eating habits will have almost nothing to do with the food in front of you – or even the emotions you are feeling in the moment.
The grand majority of emotional eating habits stem from something that happened in the past. This could be a traumatic experience from your teenage years, or from the formative years before you even turned five. Some of my clients have even gone back to memories earlier than that!
The great news about this is that binge eating and the effects of trauma are both treatable.
Regardless of when these memories happened, the person you go to for emotional eating help can be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you, facing down those traumas and overcoming them. Until, one day, they no longer affect you or your eating habits.
Because trauma and overeating are so closely linked, it’s helpful to address them together with the assistance of a professional. You want to ensure that the emotional eating help you seek out will not trigger or traumatise you further.
Through therapy, you can learn to adjust your thought patterns and behaviours that have carried over from your trauma.
You will learn to challenge false assumptions about yourself and food – assumptions that cause you feelings of shame and helplessness in the first place.
Taking a look at your traumas can empower you to let go of negative thought patterns and take the reins to your life right now – regardless of where you have been.
3. To enjoy eating out
Emotional eating is typically done in secret. You may make a habit of eating smaller portions around others or refuse to eat around them altogether.
Well, if you seek out emotional eating help, you can learn to enjoy eating around your friends, family and loved ones again.
And even more than that, you will learn to stop limiting yourself when looking at the menu! Because there is no such thing as bad food.
Unless you are literally allergic to it, nothing is off-limits when you’re listening to your body and eating intuitively!
Get ready to order your favourite dessert, because emotional eating help can transform your restaurant experience for the better. You will be able to order off the whole menu, eat what the waiter brings out – in front of your family and friends – and not feel a shred of guilt about it.
Doesn’t that sound freeing?
4. To learn how to trust your body again
One of the leading types of emotional eating help is finding food freedom through intuitive eating principles and other therapies. Food freedom is all about learning to listen to your body’s cues of hunger, satisfaction, and fullness.
That inner voice I mentioned earlier in this post.
Because your body DOES send you those cues – we’ve just forgotten how to listen for them.
It’s so much healthier to listen to your own body instead of focusing on unsustainable diet plans, or what the media tells you you should or should not eat.
Your body is amazing at surviving and knows exactly what is best. So it’s time to trust it. That’s where intuitive eating starts.
You can learn to get back in touch with those natural signals, so you know when you are truly hungry (versus emotionally hungry) and understand when to stop eating so you don’t end up uncomfortably full.
This can take some practice, but that’s what finding emotional eating help is all about. Having someone to help you through the process and keep you accountable as you learn to trust yourself again.
5. To LOVE your body
Do you like what you see when you look in the mirror? For many of us, the answer is no. And that’s not your fault.
The media feeds on our insecurities, first tearing us down and making us doubt ourselves, and then prescribing the supposed solution to the problems it caused in the first place.
But it’s time to get out of the cycle of negative self-talk. Time to unfollow, unsubscribe, and say goodbye to any outlets or people who make you feel less than. Time to surround yourself with positivity, and work to heal your relationship with your body.
Low body image and negative self-talk are often the catalysts that spark emotional eating habits to begin with. If you want to change your relationship with food, it’s really important to change your relationship with yourself.
Learning to love your body by practising positive self-talk is a process, but it’s not a process you have to work through alone. The best emotional eating help will heal you from the inside out and focus on way more than just your eating habits.
Emotional eating help can change your perspective – so you don’t feel trapped by your body, but feel freed by it.
You can learn to cherish and respect your body for all the miraculous things it can do (and has already done) for you day in and out.
And you will learn to show that love and respect for your body by nourishing it, moving it, and pampering it with a relaxing bubble bath or massage every now and then.
6. To find balance in other parts of your life
I often find that when people feel out of control of their eating habits, they also feel out of control in other areas of their lives.
Perhaps it’s an online (or in-store) shopping spree. Perhaps you binge and restrict your relationships the same way you do your meals.
If you set unrealistic goals that restrict your behaviours, such as strict budgeting or abstaining from sex for long periods of time, you might find yourself going on a bingeing spree in more areas of your life than just the pantry.
Emotional eating help isn’t just about food. It can give you the emotional and mental tools to address these bingeing behaviours in all aspects of your life – so you feel in control of your food, friendships and finances.
7. To find food freedom
Repeat after me: I can eat whatever I want.
You may not believe this now, but after some emotional eating help you will feel the truth of that statement through and through.
You will realise there is no such thing as good food or bad food. You will learn to use food in a way that nourishes and energises you without feeling guilty or ashamed for what you eat.
You will understand how much your body needs to eat, and when it needs to eat it, and we will have absolute freedom to give your body what it needs without any restriction.
You will be able to live with ice cream in the freezer and won’t have to worry about devouring it. You won’t need to look for the next diet trend only to fall off the bandwagon, because you can say goodbye to dieting altogether.
We are talking about full and complete food freedom. That’s what I found for myself through emotional eating help, and that’s what you can find too.
How to find the right emotional eating help
In order to find the right emotional eating help for you, it’s important to reach out to a licensed professional. A nutritionist is likely not the right person to reach out to. You need someone who is qualified to help you take on your eating and emotional well-being all at once.
Someone like a therapist or intuitive eating coach who specialises in helping people with emotional eating.
It can be hard work to transform emotional eating into intuitive eating, but with the right food freedom programme, and by taking a day-by-day approach, you will learn to have a better understanding of yourself, be more in touch with your feelings and your body, and find food freedom once and for all.