I Followed My Heart And It Led Me To The Fridge: Emotional Eating Part 2

Following on from Part 1 – where we looked at why dieting and controlling your food is fuelling binge eating and encouraging a detrimental relationship with yourself. Part 2 is about getting to the root of why you’re turning to food.

This is where it gets really powerful.

Drawing up a new ‘clean’ eating plan, starting on Monday and refreshing your gym membership yet again isn’t the solution.  

A few sessions in with my health coach,  I was discussing how when I don’t feel emotionally well – no amount of organic, raw green vegetables and juices can change that. That’s when she asked me a powerful questions that ultimately shifted my relationship with food.

“If food wasn’t the only solution right now, what would it be?”

“What is going on right now that you think or want food will fix?”

This takes brutal honesty.

“What is happening in your life, that your turning to food (or any other vices) to seek comfort?”

For me it was coming to grips that my life and daily schedule carried a lot of uncertainty/going with the flow/setting my own hours to work/ not having a boss to watch over me. All of this uncertainty and lack of schedule caused me to over analyse and restrict my food in order to feel as though I had some control over my life.

When I felt weak and undisciplined, restricting my food was the quickest way to feel good about myself.  Because that was the only thing that I could control at the time.  In fact, controlling my food and eating wholesome, fresh, home made meals all day gave a sense of purpose. This was great except that when I inevitably fell of the food rules that I set upon myself, I felt a wave of disappointment and frustration – adding to the anxiety and uncertainty that I was already experiencing.

What are you really after?

Is it to be loved, touched and adored? To be respected, admired and heard? Are you craving a sense of achievement or purpose? Are you longing to feel alive in your body? Are you yearning to feel connected with yourself?

Truth is most likely you don’t want the cookies, every day. Gorging on sugar everyday isn’t making you truly happy.  Stuffing your face with food whilst zombie-ing out on the sofa after a long day at work isn’t what you want. You know deep within your heart what you truly want. You know what needs to change.

In my coaching practise, all it takes is one major shift for a client and all the other pieces of their life come together. Once they discover and connect with this major shift, all their other problems begin to disappear.

That’s the power of getting to the root cause of why you’re emotionally eating in the first place.

Once I released I was turning to food to feel more in control of life, I quickly changed my thoughts and implemented a few changes:

– Instead of fearing uncertainty and going with the flow, I began to embrace it. Every time I’d feel anxious, I gave myself a quick pep talk to step up and face the uncertainty. To live in the uncertainty instead of pushing those emotions away by distracting myself with food.

-I stopped associating restricting food with feeling productive, disciplined and virtuous. Come on girl, it’s just food! Having a superfood bowl of quinoa tabouleh, roasted cashew-kale, cherry tomatoes sprinkled with watercress and alfalfa sprouts isn’t  the greatest achievement in the world. Similarly, getting a takeaway pizza and fries isn’t a crime! You’re not going to wake up with a pimple the next day for having pizza and ice-cream for dinner.

-I began to realise that you can go with the flow of life, surrender to what Allah has in store for you and still feel productive, purposeful and disciplined.

– I consciously carved out time on activities that make me feel purpose-driven, productive and disciplined that don’t relate to food.

-I realised that letting go doesn’t mean that I’ll be binging on nutella all day. Letting go means that I’ll listen to myself – mind, body and soul. Sometimes that might be eating a cookie or reading a cook or stimulating my mind. Food isn’t the only answer.

This part of healing your emotional eating journey requires your uttermost honesty. It’s so scary to admit that your career – that you’ve spent years working towards is no longer fulfilling you. It’s frightening to admit that your marriage/friendships are falling apart. But that is where change happens. It’s coming to grips that your NOT okay… you’re not happy with the way things are turning out. Once you get to the root cause, then you can work on making permanent, lasting transformations – for what’s missing in your life and work on creating a beautiful, happy, light-filled relationship with your body and food. 



14 responses to “I Followed My Heart And It Led Me To The Fridge: Emotional Eating Part 2”

  1. Hahah love the caption! But honestly I emotionally eat and it’s usually bad salty snacks because it’s the easiest thing to grab. But now I keep crackers and cucumber made in advance or fruit plate ready because when I do snack I rather snack healthy. Emotional eating is a real problem, it’s best to figure out what is triggering it. (Www.beautywithzainy.com and http://www.spicyfusionkitchen.com)

    1. That’s a great idea! Even for day to day snacking, having tasty healthy meals prepared is such a preventative way to deal with those times where your hungry/craving something sweet.

  2. Such a great post as always sis! It’s so true that food is often a band-aid solution to a problem that we don’t want to face. It makes us feel good temporarily, then comes back the stress and unhappiness, then back to eating. Eating should be done for the sake of health, it should be done with enjoyment, but it should not be a quick-fix to our emotional problems. It might be ugly, but we need to get down and dirty with what is really going on and work on that 😉

    1. heheh definitely! Getting to the root cause and going through that journey as many times as needed is key in overcoming emotional eating x

  3. I have a weird relationship with food. When I am emotional instead of eating too much I stop eating! Whenever I used to fight with my parents before I got married, I used to stop eating so my mum used to come pacify me and make me have food. I don’t binge eat expect on the days when my husband isn’t home! Alhamdulillah I have a pretty balanced food life now. I don’t binge eat or totally go off from eating! I know my I can eat chocolate/cake without feeling too guilty!

  4. I was looking forward to the 2nd part of this series! You have shared some powerful stuff that take some people a long time to reach. I think the guilt piece is huge when people are trying to be healthier where they let a cookie or chocolate completely consume them. Great piece.

  5. Oh I am feeling so motivated now because i am a foodie & I don’t think there is something else that I love so much except food.Haha
    But I really need to control my eating habits as I can’t join gym right now because i can’t go to gym every day as my father can’t follow their timings to give me pick & drop services & I wonder if my family will allow me or not.Anyways I just everything like sometimes I eat alot if I am sad or stressed but I think I have to control that.
    Hopefully i will be able to do that.
    And and thank-you for sharing this as this is such a good post & motivating too❤❤
    -Team Ayeina

    1. Awwww thank you for reading, I hope it was of benefit xxx

  6. O yes… nothing compares to being brutally honest with oneself, always

    I love how you came to terms with ‘letting go’ and understanding it to be listening to your own mind, body and soul. That is so true. Because it can happen at different levels and in so many ways for each person.

  7. Food and mood are synonyms to me and stress buster too…but after reading your post…I will keep in mind to control my food depending on mood swing….

  8. I totally understand this post, and the way you describe your relationship with food as a means of having control of something. When I was going through a really rough patch in my life, I became obsessed with healthy foods and meal planning. I felt that, if I could get that part of my life right, then at least I was achieving something. But of course, this meant that as soon as I fell off the wagon, or ate out with friends or didn’t cook what I’d planned, I felt like a total failure. Every single Monday became yet another day of ‘starting again’. Finally, alhamdulillah, I’m learning to just be grateful for the food I have, and if I’m keeping it healthy, then that’s a bonus! 🙂

  9. I have this awful problem of depending on food to get off my mood swings, and that explains why I never tend to lose weight… :/ Interesting article and pointers…

    1. It’s completely common and normal to use food as a way of dealing with emotions. Have you tried sitting with the emotions, feeling it fully in your body and allowing it to take its course? x

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