I am an emotional eater

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

May 12, 2015

We bought a coloring book that links to an app on my phone.

We bought a coloring book that links to an app on my phone.

When I started the Whole 30, I started it as an experiment with my body. I started it to see if there was any reactions to food that I could weed out. I didn’t start the Whole 30 to see how I used food to confront emotions. In the third week of the challenge – the second week of March – I had a terrible day, and then week, at work. And, in that week, my emotional eating was crystalized.

I had a bad day at work. One bad day turned into a terrible week. I’d like to get into the details, but it’s too personal and too close. I’ve gotten congratulations and compliments on this thread of personal posts, but previous emotional confessions have happened so long ago that there has been time for healing. That is, the emotional incident occurred so long ago that I’ve had time to make sense of the emotions, so sharing the feelings is cathartic and hopefully helpful to others with similar issues. While sharing my feelings on recent incidents could be cathartic and helpful, I’ve also found myself in situations where it became uncomfortable to discuss the thing that happened so recently. So, we’ll leave it at as a bad day that turned into a bad week.

The first bad day, when I came home, the only thing I wanted was a brownie. A rich, fudge, chocolatey brownie. But, I was doing the Whole 30. I was committed to the Whole 30, and sweets are strictly prohibited. There is no cheating, and there is no slipping. To the point you are not to eat fruit if you are craving sugar. So, I resisted.

It was painfully clear though (as if I hadn’t realized it before *hear the sarcasm*) that I am an emotional eater. I take comfort in comfort food when I don’t or cannot deal with whatever emotion surfaces.

I vented, in this instance, to my husband instead. Declaring loudly, “I am an emotional eater!”

So, I’ve known for a long time that I take comfort in comfort food, but it wasn’t until that moment that I knew that was a barrier for me in dealing with emotions. Realizing it, so clearly, because I committed to no cheating through Easter.

Emotions arose, and I could not cheat with a brownie. I had to figure out what was bothering me. It has taken me now maybe 6 weeks to figure out what really bothered me about that bad day and bad week. I figured it out without resorting to sweets to help, but I have not finished my end of the deal – I have not confronted those whose actions I found so offensive. So, I sit on the edge of artificial harmony because I’d rather not go for the jugular.

But, I have realized that I am an emotional eater. And, now this recognition brings choice – to succumb or to confront. And, I can do this, eyes wide open. And, I should thank the Whole 30 for helping to bring about that realization.

How do you deal with difficult emotions? Do you take comfort in rich, chocolatey brownies, or do you face the emotions head on?

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