February 5, 2016

Emotional Eating and Me

I'm a food pusher.

I didn't realize it until watching Stephanie Bryant's scope one day. She referred to her mom as a food pusher.  I felt hit in the heart. It struck a cord with me ~ I'm obsessed with food. I push it towards anyone around me but especially my family. So much so, my kids asked me if I was hungry as a kid because I seem so focused on their eating or having something with them to eat at all times. (For the record, I was never hungry as a kid) But somewhere along the way I put an importance on food that doesn't belong there.

So I've been keeping a journal of all the moments I want to eat that are not related to fueling my body but are attached to some emotion. I'm doing this as an experiment. I'm not judging myself or putting limits; just observing. I'm sitting back like an amused observer and watching what my subject does.

She's weird, my subject. (Yes, I'm talking in third person)

I've notice that I can be super determined as long as it's within a time limit. Like the time I fasted forty days on water, or the time I gave up sugar for two months, or the two times I did Whole 30. I shine when there's a time limit. But when the time is up, I settle back into familiar bad habits. I turn again to using food like a bad relationship. I let it comfort, entertain, and relax me.

Hilary Silver also did an amazing scope on emotional eating and she said something that broke me wide open:

When you turn to food, you damage relationships. 

Instead of turning to the ones who love you, you're turning to food. Food is not a person. Food cannot heal. I left that scope feeling a little teary. I don't want to be withholding relationship from real people!

These are my thoughts today. I'm writing them here so if someone else finds themselves face down in a pile of mashed potatoes or chocolate, they can watch my journey.

I'm hoping I can get to the point of overcoming this. I want to let food do what it was intended to do ~ fuel my body. I want to stop using it to meet my emotional needs. I need to stop. I don't want to damage the relationships around me.

I'm very good at saying, "It's not soooo bad" and dismissing it. 

But the first step to overcoming is admitting there is a problem.

So here it is. I'm admitting it. Just me being honest with you and hoping I won't make cinnamon toast that I'm so desperately craving right now ~ especially feeling vulnerable sitting here in front of you admitting my problem.

Food has always been a constant for me. It's been there for me. I know that sounds so silly to say, but I'm just writing what I know is true. Thinking about giving it up for entertainment, comfort and relaxation feels scary and quite honestly I'm grieving. It's like saying good bye to an old friend who wasn't really a friend but who is familiar-enough-you-want-to-keep-around kind of friend. And it's a death of sorts to say goodbye.

So for now, I'm watching, digging, writing and noticing when I struggle and why. I'm hoping I can uncover the reason or reasons that I'm so driven to use food to fill a deeper hunger. 

My plan is to take five minutes when I'm feeling "hungry" to evaluate if it's true hunger or if I'm wanting to eat for another reason. 

If it's true hunger, I'll fill my body with good foods. If it's emotional longing, then I'll fill myself with what I'm actually needing instead of food.

Stay tuned.

This topic will be continued . . . 

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