Do you sometimes feel powerless around food? Are there certain foods that, no matter how hard you try, feel irresistible?
Are those feelings keeping you from achieving your goals?
Maybe you’ve told yourself, “I just love food too much.”
Until I learned differently, I thought that too.
I promise you: there’s usually more to it than that. In fact, the timing of your emotional eating or overeating can be helpful in understanding the deeper reasons.
In our first sessions together, I hear many of my clients also attribute their behavior around food to loving it too much.
And why wouldn’t we all think that? It sure feels like it’s about the food!
I used to think sweet foods had a near magical power over me. Salty/crunchy was a pretty powerful combo as well.
I thought the proof of my love of these foods (and the confirmation that it was ONLY about the food) was the fact that I couldn’t keep any of these things in my home for hardly any longer than it took to carry them in the house. Sometimes the food didn’t even make it that far. More than a few times, I broke open the bag in the car as I left the grocery store parking lot.
Each time, I promised myself this was the last time I’d lose control over anything sweet, salty/crunchy, or heaven-help-me … the trifecta of sweet/salty/crunchy all in one snack. But even as I said the words to myself, I knew I’d break my promise. It was because I was trying to control food, when food wasn’t the issue.
This is why it’s not really about the love of food
What I figured out, and eventually my clients learn too, is that loving something is about savoring it. Love is not sneaking it, and frantically or mindlessly inhaling it before hiding the evidence, and then feeling guilty afterwords.
Love is enjoying each morsel, deliberately.
So if it’s not about the love of food, how do you get to the root cause?
The clues are in the timing
One effective way to find the deeper reason is to observe the timing. When does it happen? And what else is going on at the same time? Notice the patterns of your emotional eating or overeating.
One of my earliest revelations was the fact that Friday nights were particularly charged for me. I overate every single Friday night. But until I started looking for patterns, I didn’t realize the Friday-night-pattern.
Once I began observing my own behavior, I was able to see it, and unravel the reason why Friday nights were so triggering.
It was because I was craving the core need for play. Up until that time, my Friday nights involved going out with friends. Friday was the night of the week I allowed myself to have tons of fun. But at some point, I stopped going out and I didn’t replace it with another form of play. So, I unknowingly began using food as a way to try to feel some sense of joy in my life.
Once I noticed the pattern and filled my need for play in another way, the desire for my Friday night over-indulgences virtually disappeared.
Want to give it a try? All it takes is becoming a detective in your life.
Curiosity is your friend
Over the next few weeks, aim to cut out the judgement around emotional eating or overeating. Replace it with curiosity instead. See what you learn.
Notice the commonalities around when it happens. Are there similarities in:
- Thoughts you were thinking before or during
- People you were around before, during, or after
- Day of the week
- Day of the month
- Time of day
- Where you were before, during, or after
- Or whatever else stands out …
Notice the patterns. They can be clues to your true needs.
And if you haven’t already done so, be sure to get my free Emotional Eating Personality Type Quiz for customized insights on potential triggers. The quiz takes just 15 minutes and is my gift to you. Check it out here.