Let’s chat about emotional eating and self-care!
I think we recognize the link between turning to food for comfort, but may not really fully understand why that is, and how to work through it and overcome it. We may also not understand how self-care practices are a useful tool to combat eating for reasons other than what God designed us to. When I say eating the way God designed us to, I want to be clear that sometimes that does include eating food because it tastes good, not merely for its nutritional value. It is my personal opinion that He designed our senses for a reason and indulging them in a healthy manner with proper boundaries is totally part of his design for our experience on earth!
Most of the time, emotional eating involves eating for comfort, to self-soothe so to speak, and as a tool to avoid / ignore emotions that we don’t want to face. We may recognize that we’re doing this, or we may not even be aware.
The irony is that if we were to recognize the feeling we are avoiding, sit with it, process it, and work through it, we would not only be able to overcome some of our food-related struggles, but also our unaddressed emotional and relational needs.
I don’t want that to sound easier than it might be to actually do. Sometimes we’re just talking about this in context of having a bad day, but other times were talking about deep-rooted wounds stemming back to childhood. In the case of the latter, I think it is important to get additional level of help beyond just coaching or talking it through with a friend.
If you are dealing with the day-to-day riding waves of emotions which seem to crash into you and derail you from your healthy eating intentions, there are several things that can be useful tools. Journaling your thoughts and emotions, talking with a friend or coach, self study from books or online courses like Dashing Dish Stronger Together, etc.
I have posted before about an app by Barb Raveling which I find to be helpful for some clients in trying to identify and work through different situations where they might turn to food instead of addressing the issue that is actually at hand. It’s free and it is also developed by a Christian author. You can also read about it here.
So how does self-care tie into this issue? A lot of times, there are some simple daily or weekly self-care habits that we could practice which would keep our emotional battery better charged up. Something as simple as carving out time for your favorite activity, making sure you get quiet time alone, enough sleep, a routine date night or night out with friends, reading a book, calling a friend, etc. I want you to look at self-care as both preventative and curative. Meaning that you practice some habits in advance of getting burnt out in order to prevent a burnout, but you also recognize the need to take time to do extra recharging when you are under stress even more. A lot of times when things get crazy busy, we let our self-care practices go because they aren’t seen as vital, and we are in a state where we eliminate all the unnecessary things. However, I think that in order to sustain our mental health, we cannot allow ourselves to neglect those in our priorities. It is possible that you shorten the duration, or do something different during times of busyness, but you cannot remove self-care altogether.
If you have tips, questions, concerns, or thoughts around this subject, please feel free to share here in the comments, or reach out to me directly here if you prefer to discuss things privately! Or, if you just want to schedule a call or jump into 1:1 coaching, you can do that too!
Are you ready? Let’s get growing!