I was one of those girls who never cried in front of anyone for fear of what they’d think.
In my mid-twenties, I went through a really hard time.
The worst of it started when my best friend of 15 years walked away from our friendship and took half of our mutual friends with her. I acted like everything was perfect on the outside, but ultimately…I was a mess.
That’s when my sugar addiction went into overdrive.
I ate ice cream all day, every day, starting with breakfast. Eventually, I reached a point where nothing motivated me anymore. I spent my evenings in front of the TV with more ice cream. I was unhappy and steadily gaining weight.
But I refused to let anyone know that something was wrong because I believed that people would think less of me if I did. So instead of feeling, I’d bury my emotions in ice cream. So much ice cream. It made me feel better…for a little while at least.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that every time I gave into emotional eating, I was sabotaging my self-worth and my weight. I was completely powerless over food as well as my feelings.
Then there was a turning point in my life when everything changed:
I Became Self-Aware.
I stood naked in front of my mirror and realized I was miserable and that I had done it to myself. In that moment, I became aware that I was sabotaging myself, so I took responsibility and was able to address the real problem.
I went into my kitchen and threw away all my junk food, ice cream included.
Our first step to overcoming self-sabotage is to identify the emotion—it’s to figure out how we’re feeling. Are we feeling depressed? That’s okay. Are we opening the refrigerator door for the fifth time because we’re anxious or bored? That’s okay too.
When we notice it, we reclaim out power and our ability to choose.
Becoming self-aware helped me get to the root of the problem so I could finally address it. It’s a powerful practice that transformed my relationship to food and eventually, my weight.
I Let Myself Experience My Emotions.
A friend and I hashed it out and shared a puddle of tears in a bathroom stall one evening after some drinks. I believe that moment saved our friendship. Since then, we’ve shared everything with each other. Tears, anger, anxiety, joy…And I feel better every time we do.
Until this point, I rarely expressed my anger with someone because I thought that it wasn’t cool. I didn’t show I was nervous because I felt I wasn’t supposed to. I never let myself cry in front of anyone because I felt like I shouldn’t.
What I learned through this experience, is that it’s not only okay to be emotional—it’s good to. So now if I feel down or out of whack, I pick up the phone, call a friend and talk it through. Or we hash it out in super-long text messages. (Hey, whatever works!)
And even though I still love my sweets, I no longer feel the urge to binge-watch Netflix and overindulge in Ben & Jerry’s.
If we let ourselves experience our emotions—if we stop and observe the emotion and how it’s affecting us, giving it time to subside—we might well find that the food cravings will subside too.
I Believe That I’m Good Enough As I Am.
Often, the drive to overindulge is because we feel like we’re not good enough, thin enough, pretty enough or (insert relevant hang-up) enough.
I use to believe my best friend walked away from our friendship because of something I did wrong. I beat myself up over it and looked for an escape at the bottom of an ice cream container.
Now that I know and truly believe that I am good enough. I know that it wasn’t me. We had simply grown apart and it was time for us to go our separate ways.
And I no longer have a sugar addiction.
That doesn’t mean that I didn’t need to take action in order to lose weight. But I did it because I wanted to feel better, not because I cared about what other people thought.
When we work through our emotions, the food cravings subside on their own so we can stop emotional eating and finally lose weight for good (if that’s what we decide is best)…or not, if that is too.
So, the next time you find yourself emotional eating: recognize what you’re feeling, let yourself experience it, and know that you’re good enough just the way you are.
Author: Brittney daCosta
Image: Courtesy of the author
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren