Will this make me feel better?
ANSWER: Absolutely Yes … yet Infinitely Worse at the same Time.
We don’t eat to feel pleasure. We eat to alleviate the pain of our emotions which are mainly anxiety and sadness/depression. When we are about to overeat or indulge we are at a point where we have a difficult time tolerating the tension in our bodies, or the emotional state that seems to be too heavy.
Eating carbs, sugar and fat has a very soothing effect on us which is why emotional eaters tend to choose those types of foods – breads, desserts, fried food etc. Soothing is not the same as pleasure, although it may feel like that by contrast when one is in pain since alleviating the pain feels good.
So in a way, yes we feel better.
On the other hand, as soon as we make the decision to indulge we immediately feel worse. As we take our first bite we know we are doing something that isn’t good for us and so we tend feel:
1- Shame because we believe we are weak and are doing something we shouldn’t, and KNOW we shouldn’t but still do it anyway.
2- Anger because we feel the injustice of having to feel badly about merely doing something to make ourselves suffer less. “It’s not fair!”
3- Despair knowing that there will be consequences later, and that despite that we’ll continue to do this over and over again.
TIME TO PAY
So initially we’ll feel good because of the taste and soothing that comes with eating and digesting comfort food which usually lasts an hour or two. But then the cost kicks in and it does hurt:
- Physical Discomfort – Feeling full and uncomfortable after overeating, having to deal with the sugar high and low and the stress that puts on your body. Or the dull ache of trying to digest too much fat. Feeling heavy and tired.
- Sleep – Not getting a good night’s rest and waking up more often.
- Weight – The scale moving in the opposite direction to where you want it to.
- Self Loathing – Or hating yourself for making the wrong choices over and over again
- Depression or Sadness – Feeling like you’ll never be able to change this cycle.
Nobody needs to point out that that is A LOT to pay for what you get initially out of eating too much.
WHAT TO DO
The main thing you need to do right now is increase your AWARENESS of what’s going on with your thoughts and emotions before, during and after you eat. And you do that by asking yourself questions like the one at the very top of this blog post.
– Will this make me feel better?
– How do I feel?
– Why am I doing this? (Exactly, be specific)
– What are the most accurate names of these feelings I am experiencing.
– What do these feelings tell me about myself and what I’m doing.
Awareness of what’s going on inside us is a big, big part of being able to change ourselves and it takes time. This isn’t a cure by any means and anyone who tells you that you can stop eating emotionally in 4-6 weeks is wasting your time and taking your money.
Your diet and body will change when your psychology does, so make that a priority by talking about this with friends, groups, therapists and with yourself via journaling or introspection.
A little (more awareness) each day builds on itself until one day you look into the mirror, then look back and see a different person.
THE EATING LOVE GUIDE (FREE)
The Eating Love Guide has helped many people regain control of their eating patterns, resulting not only in weight loss but also better health and improved self-esteem. To read it online, click here.