Tonight I have a stomach ache. As a grown woman, a yoga teacher, and a human being who knows better – I should not have this particular discomfort. There’s a part of me that feels shame and disappointment in myself for being reckless with my body today. My typical discipline tossed out the window in one right turn into the cookie dough store (yes, there’s a cookie dough store). Why didn’t I go straight to my house with my broccoli and my soup?
You see, today I decided to eat the moon. More specifically, 4 heaping scoops of cookie dough in one sitting. In my defense, the dough place is amazing. Still, though, I have goals – like living past 60 without diabetes and not passing out at 2pm from crap-food overload.
Why do we stress eat?
In this scenario, my family had a stressful “event.” Unfortunately, this event called to mind an even more stressful, previous event in my life. Upon reflection, I’m learning that I have a very specific trigger. When faced with the potential loss of a family member, I’m learning now I have a little PTSD from my own loss.
So today, before I knew it, I was eating my feelings. Gorging on what felt indulgent, eating anything that I thought would make me feel better. Clearly, for me, that includes anything with high-carb and high-sugar content.
Think back to a time you ate too much junk
Days like today remind me that when I’m stressed, I eat. Stress includes sadness, fear, and anxiety – and when I’m feeling these things, it’s so easy to turn to something I think will be an immediate, often-inexpensive comfort.
Even though I didn’t recognize what was happening at the time – I love my body. I can reflect on the day, scold myself a little, and remember to forgive myself. Of course, I also need to figure out how to stop those days from happening. The “I’ve had a stressful day, I deserve to eat pizza, french fries, and a burrito for lunch” days.
It’s like I think: Fill the unhappiness and worry with a donut and it will all be okay. Upon reflection, it feels like a sort of self-sabotage – or a lack of self-love. Definitely a stuffing down of feelings.
Okay, now really, put it down.
There are plenty of ways to stop emotional/stress-eating. If you’re like me, maybe reading an article like this will help you remember to practice self-care.
- Find healthier stress reducers. This is probably the most salient suggestion for me. When I’m consistently in a yoga class or a gym, I’m not eating garbage. My heart and head are way better off this way.
- LOVE yourself more. Seriously. Check out this article.
- Sleep more. Drink more water. I should write this one twice.
- Cultivate awareness around food. So much of the time when we binge-eat, we aren’t thinking about what we’re doing. Try mindful eating, breathing exercises, and sticking to normal eating routines (some experts recommend journal – that gives me anxiety).
- Less Hulu, more gardening. Or something. Lean into what brings you joy. Anything but peppermint Christmas patties from the back of the pantry because you don’t want to process feelings.
- Seek professional opinions. For some of us, food challenges are much bigger than a day or two of poor eating. We may do it more often and struggle with deeper emotional wounds. In this case, seek out support. Talk to your doctor and see your next best help.
About the Author:
Brianna is a business person with a passion for social science and healthy living. The three seem to always intersect and come together in Indie. If you’d like to know more, check this out! If you like this article, please subscribe & check out Indie for more. Thanks, as always, for reading! If you have a story to share, please share it below!