Emotional eating is like crawling into a safe cave when you don’t like what’s happening in your life. You don’t want to listen to what your mind may be saying. Or you may be avoiding what you are being called to do. Food can be an avoidance tactic to prevent us from facing a situation that will allow us to grow, but requires a bit of a risk.
When you eat compulsively, you eat a whole pie, 10 cookies, or a whole bag of chips. You do this because you are caught in the chaos and compulsions of your thinking mind, and are not listening to your heart and inner wisdom.
The cool thing about emotional eating is that it is the listening itself that calms the chaos. It “Shifts” you from your head-space to your inner body. Said in another way, it “Shifts” you from doing unconscious things to being present.
And here is the kicker, when you listen; you are in a state of peace, and food is so much more enjoyable! You enjoy food, without the guilt, without any shame, regardless of what you eat.
Some people don’t have a problem enjoying food, but some people have come to look at food as something that gets in the way of who they want to be. Thin. They experience discomfort when they don’t eat, and experience discomfort when they do eat. This is an awful place to be because we are human beings who eat!
When I graduated from school I wanted everything to be perfect, but life’s not perfect, its sloppy, life is messy and let’s face it, life is too short not to eat chocolate, burgers, or whatever your favorite treat might be. But when you eat food that is deemed “bad” it can make you feel like you did something bad. This stirs up guilt and shame. When you fall off the wagon, there are two things that prevent you from getting back on; guilt and shame.
Shame and guilt are not the same; guilt is I did something bad; shame is I am bad. Shame is that little devil running amuck in your thinking minds who says, nope, you're not good enough, you're not smart enough, you're not thin enough, shame is what we feel when we hear that voice in our head that say’s Who do you think you are? Shame is highly correlated with addiction, eating disorders, depression, and suicide. When we feel shame we want to numb the feeling, often with food and alcohol.
When we are taught that food is “bad” we create a paradigm of guilt and shame.
Perhaps it’s time to create a new paradigm. A paradigm of enjoyment, fulfillment and satisfaction! Perhaps it’s time to stop judging food and honor our bodies.
Let go of shame. You are allowed to enjoy! You are allowed to breath, walk, talk, sleep, and eat. Denying your right to eat and enjoy food denies life itself! Enjoying food is a human right! Let’s have fun with this and look at eating intuitively as a game that returns us back to our humanity as we enjoy being human beings who eat!
Enjoying your food will do many things; sure it will aid digestion and simulate metabolism, and help you reach your goals, but more importantly it will bring joy back into your life. Food becomes something to be appreciated, enjoyed and savored, not something to be avoided at all costs.
When you are present with your eating experience and enjoy your food an amazing thing happens; you don’t eat as much. And because you're giving your body what it wants, it’s satisfied.
Have you ever had a craving for ice cream and ate fruit instead, then weren’t satisfied and rummaged through your cupboard for something else? Then ate 2 or 3 more things in an effort to find satisfaction when if you had just had a few bites of ice cream in the first place your body would have been happy?
But wait, people say, “Aren’t there foods that are good for you and foods that are bad for you?”
I get this question a lot. The answer is no. There are foods that are health giving and promote health and vitality, just as there are foods that when over-consumed may lead to disease. But there is no “good” or “bad” about any food. It just is; cause and effect. So no matter what you eat, enjoy it thoroughly and pay close attention to how your body is able to handle that food. Be curious about your body and the eating experience. For instance, do you experience mucous in your nose and throat when you eat dairy products? Does your anxiety increase after you eat wheat? Do certain foods give you diarrhea? Do other foods make you feel bloated and gassy? Does sugar and coffee really give you a lift, or do they make you more tired in the long run? Do certain foods make your heartbeat increase?
Geneeth Roth author of Women, Food, and God ate whatever she wanted for a year, if it didn’t “hum” to her, or in other words, if her inner guidance wasn’t asking for it, she didn’t eat it. The only two guidelines she followed was that she only ate when she was hungry, and she stopped when she was satisfied.
This is worthy of trying.
We have been so busy judging food and our bodies that we have ignored intuitive eating. Finally Free is not about telling you what you should or shouldn’t eat. It demonstrates what foods are nutrient dense and which ones are not, and recommends choosing from nutrient dense foods most of the time. These are just recommendations, whatever you do and whatever you eat is totally up to you. It is your life.
You can choose to label food as bad and eat with guilt and shame, or you can enjoy the eating experience fully and completely. Either way, you must eat.
What do you choose?