Emotional eater? You are not alone.
I've wanted to talk about emotional eating for a while but I haven't been able to find the words. I guess I'm just gonna start with me & my problems and then just let it unravel from there haha.
So when I'm happy I eat, when I'm sad I eat, I eat for whatever mood I am in and I'll be the first to admit, that sometimes it can get out of control. If I'm celebrating, I'm celebrating over food & if I'm stressed, I'm stressing out with half a burger in my gob. Do you see where I'm going? I know I'm not entirely alone on this but I guess being an emotional eater is something that many people don't or won't talk about. I get it! Its kinda weird and its kinda embarrassing but its really important to me to talk about difficult subjects, especially if its going to help someone.
I've had issues with food for as long as I can remember but since growing up and becoming more aware of what I 'should' be eating, my issues have become worse. In 2014 I started seeing a specialist about my problems but unfortunately my sessions fizzled out as I couldn't keep up with the appointments due to working ridiculous hours as a carer. Ive been to Weight Watches, Slimming World & tried other ways to focus on food, but none of them have worked because their focus is on 'losing weight' & not the underlying issue.
Im 4 years old and I've just fallen over in the back garden. I run to my mum with a grazed knee and she says 'have a biscuit, it will make you feel better'. Food has always been something that is used to cheer you up and if its your birthday, you're allowed to eat an entire cake without feeling guilty right? When the love of your life has broken up with you, its perfectly acceptable to eat an entire tub of ice cream followed by an entire jar of Nutella. You've won that award too so its time to go and celebrate with antipasti, pizza and an entire bottle of wine. The problem is, for some of us, for me, this is a huge struggle and something that I mentally cannot process. I will find something to celebrate so I can reward myself with food and I will tell myself its okay to eat an entire packet of custard creams because I haven't been paid yet and its stressing me out... & then comes the guilt.
'Normal' people know when to stop but people who have issues with food and who are emotional eaters simply don't. We stop when we feel sick, when we physically can't eat anymore and when we are suddenly overcome with despair and guilt. Food just isn't food to me, its everything. I plan my days around food, I literally could piss my pants over the thought of going out to eat and to keep myself going during the week, I think about ordering a Chinese on the weekend. (I can't be the only one, please don't tell me I'm the only one) The Angel on my shoulder tells me to put the cookie down, it won't make me feel better in the long run and Grace you're not a dog so stop rewarding yourself with food you bloody idiot. The Devil on my other shoulder tells me to keep on eating because life is too short and that cookie will be a complete waste of money if its not eaten, oh and eat that cake too.
Having issues with food changes on a daily basis. Sometimes I can wake up and have a really good day, I eat healthy, I drink my water and I don't think too much into it. Other days I wake up and head straight to the biscuit tin and I sit on my sofa planning everything I'm going to eat that day. I know its not normal but its normal to me and this is my reality. I know that some parts of this post are probably funny and maybe a little light hearted but the reality for me also is that, being like this is somewhat draining. I sometimes get really upset because I've eaten half a chocolate bar on a day I'm really trying to be in control and I am flooded with frustration and a feeling of 'I AM A DISGUSTING FAILURE'. There are days I wish I didn't have to eat and those are the days I find most difficult. Food is a drug, its an addiction but you can't go cold turkey like you would with heroin or cocaine - food is the one thing that can keep us alive but can kill us at the same time.
Theres increasing awareness around anorexia, bulimia and most recently binge eating disorder but I still feel there isn't enough people talking about emotional eating or 'disordered eating' that doesn't fall into an actual eating disorder (I hope that makes sense). I guess all of us have struggled with food at some point in our lives but for some us, it happens more often than not. Every year around this time I enter a quiet sense of panic knowing that Christmas is around the corner and I am overwhelmed with toxic thoughts about food. It just sucks!! Ive been told before that I replace people with food. When I'm sad I should call a friend but instead I find solace in a packet of crisps.. I know what I'm doing is wrong but trying to change it seems impossible.
Shall I do a 'tips' post on dealing with emotional eating? Im not a professional but if you guys would like some advice, let me know.