How I learned I was eating to avoid emotional discomfort or pain

I have been wondering why we eat, because there are many times we do not eat for our health or from hunger or to nourish our bodies lovingly. How often do we eat to not feel what is really going on and to numb our emotions . . . otherwise known as emotional eating?

For example, today, after a small argument with my mum, I was telling her off and I felt irritation and blame creeping into the tone of my voice, and how the atmosphere in the house and the loving feeling between us had changed.

I then felt quite guilty, and ‘boom’, immediately wanted to eat. I had a sudden and strong urge to stuff myself and felt I needed to reach for my favourite comfort food to stop the discomfort of that feeling.

Because I was aware of what was driving me to the food, I stopped and said to myself, "No, stop. Feel your feelings; choose something else”. It was a great moment for me because I realized that for so long I have been using food to stop myself from feeling the nasty and the awful side of life. Instead I chose to feel the guilt, and then chose to talk to my mum differently.

At that moment I uncovered a very insidious pattern of using food to cover up what I disliked of the world or myself.

"Gluten and dairy are fine if you are after comfort and choose to stay numb in order to cope with life."

Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, p 618

It was a great moment of awareness, not only because I felt the urge and angst and stopped to feel what was happening, but also because I chose to then take responsibility for the way I talked to my mum from that moment onwards and created a lovely feeling again in the house and between us.

And I pondered on this: how many times in my life do I eat to hide, dilute, manage, cover up, escape or erase what I am feeling?

I have been using food as a substance of abuse, as a drug, as a support for my irresponsibility and lack of awareness, not as a choice of the best fuel for my amazing body, to keep it expressing the love and joy that I am.

How many of us use food as a tool for checking out, for passing time, a relief for boredom, tiredness, anger and grief, even guilt?

It can be very revealing to STOP, so we:

  • Don´t eat in an automatic pilot mode
  • Don´t choose numbness to make the emotional turmoil bearable
  • Can choose to connect to ourselves and then eat from a point of awareness
    Is it possible if we eat when disconnected to our body that there is no limit and no end to that automatic eating, until . . . we decide to stop and dare TO FEEL?
    There are thousands of books on diet and nutrition, but who tells us nutrition is more than the food we eat, and that it is our responsibility to stop and feel before we eat? Every day we have the choice to be connected to ourselves and to feel the relationship with what we put in our bodies and why.
    What if we:

  • Choose to be aware of our bodies and our feelings when we choose what to buy and prepare to eat?
  • Choose to stop before we eat, and feel our feelings?
  • Were brave enough to accept what we feel and choose to respond differently? No more diets, because we choose to connect to ourselves and feel what we need to eat.

We have the power to change the common trend to eat to not feel.

Healing emotional eating is about stopping and connecting to our body whenever the urge ‘to eat to not feel’, to self-abuse, to numb our pain and feelings of emptiness and to eat from despair and anxiousness arises. Instead we can learn to deal with our emotions and start developing a healthier relationship with what and why we eat, how we eat it and how we are feeling when we eat.

Our body responds to that attention and we not only gain awareness, but also a better shape, and in that process we may actually find our perfect weight without even trying.

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You living you is the best medicine

The best medicine in life is you living you and not being affected by what is happening around you.

Filed under

EmotionsAwarenessEating disorderOver eating

  • By Julia Manglano

  • Photography: Clayton Lloyd