Today I was going through notes on my computer to clean up things and I found something I wrote down months and months ago about my emotional eating:
I eat to numb out. To zone out. To not feel what it is that makes me feel bad or sad or crazy. Food is easier, quite simply.
I’ve grown a lot since I wrote that and for the most part I’ve moved passed doing that blind emotional eating to smother what I’m feeling. But I haven’t completely eliminated that line of thinking and actions from my life yet.
The last couple days I found myself eating way more sweet snacks than I should. It’s not even that it’s more than I should eat, it’s more than I even wanted to eat. But they were available and thinking about food constantly gave me a break from thinking about the other stressful things. It might seem surprising, but life actually feels more stressful now than it did when I was in Tennessee. Funny how that works. Funny how easily I can slip into using food as something to zone out with instead of dealing with the emotions I’m feeling.
But like that phrase says, food is easier. It’s something to think about and obsess over and then consume that doesn’t hurt anyone else and doesn’t force me to be self aware. If I put all my focus on food I don’t have to acknowledge what is bothering me, right?
That line of thinking has some logic to it, but it also leads straight into compulsive thinking and obsession over food. I wish that obsession could be for broccoli or some other vegetable but it’s usually just for anything with enough sugar to mess with the chemicals in my brain. Food gives me something to focus on, zone out with, and feel good from.
Food is easier to deal with when I’m stressed out or otherwise emotional, but in the end the consequences (blood sugar spikes, weight gain, etc.) just make things more complicated. I know that but it’s easy to silence those concerns in the moment. After the fact, sometimes hours later or even days, I wise up to the fact that I should have just dealt with the situation and/or feelings instead of using food. But in the moment I sometimes just go straight for the food because I don’t want to feel bad or sad or crazy or stressed.
I struggle with this type of thing much less often than I used to, but it still is a problem occasionally and this week has reminded me of that fact. Stopping it from happening to be self aware and examine what I really need to be feeling is not always fun and sometimes I just let it go and go for the food. I hate it and wish I had never learned this particular coping mechanism. I wish it was something that was easily conquered. I have lots of wishes but not many solutions.
I’m still working through things and learning how to respect my body and treat it well. I love myself and want to treat myself well, but sometimes I forget what that means and like I did this week, I fall back on old habits. I’m continually striving to be better and completely break free from emotional eating and other crippling habits. That won’t stop.