Emotional Eating is …. bad, right? Even throughout all of my diet-dogma-busting, and coming to realize that sugar, carbs, fat, dairy, gluten, and calories were not the real enemies, it left me assuming that “Emotional Eating” was then the default problem. If food isn’t inherently bad, then why do people run into problems with it? Why do people get fat or have health problems? Abusing Food…. Right? “Emotional Eating”????
I definitely can get into a state of being uncomfortable or jumpy, and that will sometimes lead to eating on autopilot- (which is different and less intense than my past denial/hunger binges). And eating on autopilot- as opposed to mindful slow, pleasure filled eating- isn’t exactly great or the most joyful….. so…that is what they mean, right? That is “emotional eating”? But after reading a quote by Gwenyth Olwyn, I think the term emotional eating needs to be redefined.
I think the problem is abusing food. And abusing food can be restrictive or it can be excess- as a way for control , or numbness, or escape. And the only way to get over that is awareness, bravery: learning to feel your feelings, and consistently letting yourself eat whatever the hell you want (which is paramount) Other than that, you must emotionally eat.
Let me repeat: You must emotionally eat. Eating is not a logical game. Eating is an emotional game, an intuitive and gut-led practice, an “I-can’t-explain-why-I-crave-tuna-right-now” (or brownies, or crackers). You cannot rationalize everything you eat. You cannot eat in a bubble. You cannot only eat when you are completely emotionally neutral. You cannot only eat things because they are “the best and healthiest foods”. Because that is disordered eating. That is where we ran into trouble before, because that is where we start striving for perfection where perfection doesn’t exist.
Our best bet at wholesome, healthy, delicious, pleasure-filled eating is to eat from your emotions. To eat from your heart, and gut, and from the inkling that you have, and the sense that you need some pineapple but you will never be able to prove exactly why. That is why cravings shouldn’t be fought.
“We cannot eat logically. Our logical minds are too late to the evolutionary party, by millennia, to actually offer any value to how we pursue and stay optimally energized. … How you feel about your food is how you not only survive, but also thrive.” -Gwenyth Olwyn in her post Bingeing is Not Bingeing
If you are stuffing yourself to a painful point often, or bingeing every night… you are probably still not letting yourself be free enough with food. There probably is a bit of restriction in the back of your head. A fear that next week or next month there may be another diet. Overeating naturally tapers off the longer your allow yourself to eat whatever you want. In time your body’s needs taper off and your restricted mind’s needs taper off. Be patient, and eat freely, and nourishingly…. and even….emotionally. Food is still not the problem!