5 Truths of Emotional Eating
Updated: Feb 16
Let’s face it, you may still be trying to lose those extra pounds but, everywhere you look, temptation is lurking around, especially when it's wrapped up in captivating gift boxes that look so pretty and irresistible that you buy them on impulse.
That’s right, you may not particularly want or feel like chocolate, you definitely don’t need it to keep your body nourished, but you still buy that cute little thing or expect to receive a devilishly tempting box.
So what is going on here? Nutritional benefit or detriment aside, there must be some feel-good factor you are after when buying chocolate, otherwise, what’s the point in buying it?
Food marketing uses your feelings
Even if you are not aware of the feelings that drive you to buy chocolate, the food industry has taken care of this for you.
That’s right, they have made it their business to know your feelings better than you know yourself!
Notice how they market their products as ‘divine’, ‘celebrations’, ‘heroes’, etc., because they know you want to feel divine celebrating with your hero. Their marketing talks to your feelings, not to your body's need for nourishment.
But here’s the reality - once you finish that box of sugar, you are most likely going to feel like the shamed villain that got defeated at the end of the film. But hold on, now you are in that state, where you really want and need to feel appreciated like ‘roses’ so maybe a box of those will do the trick, right?
Your feelings go with you
Well, it may have worked when you were six years old and your mum gave you chocolate to comfort you when you cried or were upset.
But now you are a grown-up woman and you know that even if you moved to Timbuktu or Antarctica, no amount of sweets or chocolate in the world could turn you into a divine hero nor make you feel like one.
You also know that wherever you go, your feelings (including the ones you have been carrying around from childhood) go with you.
Take my Type of Eater Quiz
and find out which feeling is driving your overeating.
You have better strategies
As an adult you have better and improved strategies to deal with pain, sadness, loss, upset and anything life may throw at you, that you didn’t have when you were a child. All the experience you have gained over the years has given you better coping skills.
The woman you are now can pick up the phone or meet up with friends, go for a relaxing massage or a calming meditation class, take up a fun hobby or join an interesting local community group, try a new sensual perfume or buy a crazy t-shirt, and the list of possibilities goes on and on.
You now have much better strategies than turning to food for comfort, strategies that align with your desire to lose weight.
Old familiar strategies no longer serve you
When you were a kid, you may have been thrilled by the prospect of going with your family to McDonald’s, which could have been a real treat and the highlight of the week or month. Your mind has been used to and learnt that McDonald's makes you happy.
So on any day that you may feel down, you don't know why, but you just have to have McDonalds and nothing else will do. It's because the mind will always take you to what is familiar and resist the unfamiliar.
But let me ask you something, would you be that thrilled if your partner had told you that he had the most amazing plan for your Valentine’s and on the day he took you out to McDonald's for the grandest, biggest double meal complete with sides, drink and dessert?
Right, so you get my point: your childhood strategy of using food to make you happy no longer serves you. Instead, make that massage, manicure or walk in the park a familiar and pleasurable reward because it's aligned with your goal of losing weight.
Make the new updated strategies familiar
So what are you getting for Valentine’s this year? Are you going to ask for what it is you want to achieve your weight loss goal, or are you going to settle for the old chocolate box?
Maybe you want a caring gesture, a small or big gift of appreciation, some high-quality time just for the two of you or a special evening out, an extra sprinkle of spice in the bedroom or a deeply heartfelt “I love you”.
The truth is that chocolate will never deliver any of these good feelings nor the lasting appreciation that a real token of love can give you.
You know what you want or need to feel loved and appreciated and you can train your mind to learn these new strategies and ditch the old, outdated ones.
You can get all the love and appreciation you want, and still achieve your weight loss goal. You deserve it.
To get tips on changing your eating habits,
take my Type of Eater Quiz.
And remember, communicate to your loved one what it is you want or need because, even if you think he should know, the truth is that mind readers are scarce.