A lot of the popular content out there about emotional eating (binge and overeating too) deals with how to stop ‘bad’ eating habits and form ‘better’ habits instead.
However what I want to talk about in this blog is the healing power of emotional (binge and over-) eating.
Yes the healing power!
Including why you should actually embrace these as sophisticated strategies for dealing with your emotions and for going through hard times.
Let’s start where it all began.
You were born, you cried and you were fed mother's milk - warm, sweet and nutritious. You fell asleep on a breast nourished entirely by food and connection.
You are born hardwired to relate food with comfort.
And not just any comfort, but emotional trauma and survival comfort.
So it’s entirely NATURAL to sooth with food.
And by natural I mean to say that if you still soothe and nourish your emotions with food there is nothing wrong with it.
You’re perfectly NORMAL
We’ve covered off two important points here:
1. We’re DNA designed to turn to food for comfort (it’s biology because food = survival).
2. It is normal, not abnormal, to eat emotionally (we are emotional creatures. We have emotions, we eat).
This is the basis for learning how to use food as a coping strategy.
Because until you realise just how basic this concept is to being human you might think you’re somehow WRONG for doing it.
But the first stage in dealing with yourself if you are a big binge, overeater or emotional eater, is accepting just how normal it is. Hopefully this can abate some of the self harm that is served up along with these experiences.
The critical dialogue that accompanies a binge for instance can be much more psychological damaging than a binge eating experienced is physically.
Let’s move on to where it evolved….. and to close the missing link.
We not only gorged as babies but we connected, to mum or whoever else was feeding us.
So the second phase of being good at using food to cope with life is to get connected.
This can mean a couple of things:
1. Reaching out to at least one person and telling them about your experience.
2. Making mealtimes about family and friends, not just about refueling
In many western countries food has become a solo event, or one where you are simply out to get ‘stuffed full of food’ as my Aussie boyfriend called it. But to my European soul, NO!
(Don't be like this guy ➡ )
Food is about pleasure, aromas, taste sensations, slowing down and time together.
Make the meal a more formal event, wait until everyone is seated to ENJOY the company as much as the food. Make the connection the main event, food is there to accompany your life, not take centre stage in it.
One thing I get my clients to do is invite a friend or family member to actually share in the emotional binge, overeating experience. Get your binge food of choice, say a large block of chocolate and glass of wine that you normally gorge on alone and share the experience instead!
This is a good time to talk openly about how the food is helping you. Openly discuss it like you’re discussing the weather. Take the shame out, own it, enjoy it.
This is called defusing.
What you might notice is that these strategies are loving, not punishing. They adopt the approach that food has healing power - if we let it.
And how could it not; a force for survival plus just yell pizza night and everyone shows up!
A powerful force for easily getting people together too!
So, humbly acknowledge that food is an obvious, natural coping strategy and use it to bring your loved ones closer to you.
I guarantee that in time, your relationship to food will balance out itself, no force or willpower required.
And isn’t that the peaceful route we really desire?
Hope this was helpful! Let me know in the comments below….
P.S. Do you want to feel insane around food for the rest of your days?
Do you know what it’s like to feel comfortable in your own skin?
If not, and you want to change that, click here for more info.