I have heard some people say, “I eat because I’m depressed about the way I look and I look the way I do because I eat.” I call this the negative spiral, and we all go through it from time to time. Anyone who suffers from emotional eating knows exactly what I am referring to. You are dealing with something negative in your life so you turn to food to compensate for the negative emotions and because you just turned to food and now feel fat it further depresses you. The negative cycle happens again and again. Some people go on this spiral and never recover from it until one day they look in the mirror and it shocks them when they realize how much weight they have just gained. Others often go on the crazy yo-yo roller coaster diets where they emotionally ate and gained a bunch of weight. Then, go on a very restrictive fad diet and lose the weight just to put it back on when the diet is over. I used to be very bad at this. I would let negativity cause me to eat and I would slowly put on weight and because I was consumed with the negatives, it’s all I could focus on. I wouldn’t even notice the weight gain. Then to correct the problem I would go to the gym twice a day and kill myself, and go on a really restrictive diet until the weight fell back off. Doing this repeatedly is really bad for your body and I’m still paying the price for it. I have actually caused some damage to my metabolism that I am still trying to recover from.
Just like with any addiction, you can recover from emotional eating. To anyone familiar with the addiction recovery process, the first step is realizing you have a problem. You have to identify what is causing the negative emotions leading you to eat and resolve that problem first. When you are trying to rid your garden of weeds you cannot simply cut the weed down (emotional eating), you must remove the weeds at the roots. In the future when you feel down and want to turn to food to make yourself feel better, remember the negative spiral, and the road that leads you down. Find the source of the negative emotions and tackle them head-on to create a long-term fix, rather than just an emotional patch. Replace the former negative reaction with something positive. For me, it was going to the gym. The gym is somewhere I can go to release all my negativity that’s been building up inside and when I leave I’m simply too tired to worry about it!
Emotional Eating is not an easy problem to solve because once you have the association of food to happiness then its always going to be a part of you. The great thing about this journey we call life, is as long as we are breathing we have the opportunity to fix problems and better ourselves. It all boils down to the decisions you make on a daily basis. It is like any other muscle in our body and the more you practice replacing those negative emotions with something positive the better you will become at recognizing the triggers before they ever start. Today, make the decision that you will no longer let your negative emotions drive you to eat and today start the journey to becoming the best version of you, you can possibly be.
Remember: The struggle is real, but you are stronger.