Friday, June 3, 2022
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Over Eating: Self-Love or Self-Sabotage

People, including myself, turn to food for many reasons beyond hunger. When we feel down, we also turn to food. Food is a way to get through uncomfortable moments. It can also be used to distract from the discomfort. Food is our friend, helping us through all the emotions of life.

I can remember feeling very ashamed and guilty when I realized how I used food in my daily life. I felt ashamed of the fact I used food to deal with emotions I was dealing with in other areas of my life. It was hard to understand why I would choose food. I was trying to lose weight, and I didn’t understand why I would turn to food when I was not hungry.

I can remember thinking that I was disgusting and gross after having eaten too much or eating frozen yogurt after dinner. I felt worse the more I tried to be conscious of my eating habits. I would eat for the wrong reasons, and then catch myself doing it again. After dinner, I would get the urge to buy frozen yogurt. I realized that I wasn’t hungry but I still wanted the yogurt. I then bought and ate the yogurt anyway. You’re so gross, Dani. You can’t even control yourself. “You see the pattern, but you still eat.” It felt like I was trapped in a vicious cycle of self-sabotage.

Through a combination of study and self-observation, one day I realized that food was not my way to sabotage myself, but it was my way of taking care of myself. I felt better, even if it was only temporary. It didn’t make me feel better in the long term, but it did at least temporarily alleviate some of my negative emotions.

I wasn’t disgusting or out of control. I was kind and caring and did my best to take care of myself.

As we all know, “once you know better than you think”, this is where I started to make a change.

Two things happened once I understood that my eating was an attempt at making myself feel better. The first was that my negative self-talk stopped and was replaced by positive, affirming thoughts. Instead of seeing myself as an out-of-control pig, I saw myself as a caring, nurturing person who was just trying to feel better. The second was creating a space between my desire to eat and my reaction. The second was creating a gap between the feeling or urge to eat the gallon of ice cream and my reaction. After realizing that eating was my way to feel better, I started to look at other options that would make me feel happier at the moment, while also aligning with my long term goals of happiness and health (things such as a mini facial, going on a walk, writing in a journal, taking a bubble soak, and calling a friend).

This does not mean that I should eat a lot of cereal or indulge in ice cream to keep myself occupied. It’s not. There are still moments when I can observe the behavior and choose a different response. However, I no longer regret it. I am not perfect and I don’t want to be. My goal is happiness, health, and wisdom, not being miserable, unhappy, or skinny. Today, I just take note of what I see and work towards my goals and intentions. My mind is more important than habit. When I shift my thinking and perceptions, habits follow easily.

This is my journey. I’m learning to embrace it.

Let me now turn the conversation over to …. Emotional eating: Self-love or self-sabotage? Are there any behaviors or habits that you believe “sabotage” your larger goals? What are your habits and behaviors? What if you tried to change your mental perception of the situation to make it better?

If you have any thoughts or feelings, I would love to hear them.

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