Emotional eating is more and more of a concern these days, and there doesn’t seem to be an easy answer when it comes to best understanding it, and how to let it go. But when we say “I’m an emotional eater,” what does this actually mean? As humans, we experience a constant and ever-changing flow of emotions all day long, so it makes sense that our feelings will be there when we’re eating, too.
Dynamic Eating Psychology shows that the way we relate to our emotions can have a big impact on what we choose to eat and how our body processes our meal. In this illuminating new video from IPEtv, Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, offers some unusual and unexpected insights to help us work with emotional eating in an effective and empowering way.
Here is a transcript of this week’s video:
Emotional Eating: Here’s What You Need to Know
Greetings, friends. Marc David here, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Let’s talk about emotional eating. I want to tell you what I think you need to know about this topic.
Now, you know emotional eating is a concern for so many people. So here’s the question: what is it? Why does it happen? And what to do about it? So how to nail this down in a few minutes or less.
So people will self-diagnose as emotional eaters. And really when somebody says, “I’m an emotional eater,” what they’re saying is, “I’m doing unwanted eating that’s driven by unwanted feelings.” I want to say that again. When people self-diagnose and say, “I’m an emotional eater,” what they’re saying is, “I am doing this unwanted eating behavior that’s driven by these unwanted feelings that I don’t like.”
Now, here’s the thing.
I want you to think about this. What’s the opposite of emotional eating? Unemotional eating? What would you do? Sit there and just be a machine and eat? So here’s the thing. We are beautifully emotional creatures. Emotional eating means you’re at a party and you’re sitting down and you’re eating with friends. And you have love. And you have nourishment. And you have warmth. That’s emotional eating.
Yeah, emotional eating might be your birthday dinner and you’re in celebration mode. There’s emotional eating. Emotional eating might be, “Yes, I come home. I had a bad day at work. And I’m stuffing my face with food because I’m all stressed.”
Now, check this out. We are emotional beings. It’s almost impossible to eat without emotions present. Now, what happens is so many of us, we don’t experience the full complement of emotions in our life. And when we’re not experiencing the emotions that I feel when my loved one, when my partner, when my parents, with the challenges of life, the good emotions, the hard emotions, when we don’t really embrace them and feel them and metabolize them, emotions around food symbolically become more important. We put all this feeling and energy and emotion into our food, thinking it’s going to make us feel good.
So what I want to say is we use food to regulate our emotional metabolism. I want to say that again. We use food to regulate our emotional metabolism. Feel bad, have food, feel better. It makes perfect sense.
So what I want to say to you is if you emotionally eat, it’s okay.
I know it’s a challenge. But I want you to know a lot of people define themselves as emotional eaters, but they’re really not. Meaning, if you’re eating poor quality food, you’re going to hunger for more because your body wants nutrition. If you’re artificially dieting and you’re not getting enough food, you’re going to be driven to eat because the brain is screaming for nutrition. It’s going to make you eat.
And then you think, “Oh, my goodness. I’m an emotional eater.” No! You’re not an emotional eater. What happened is you have not enough fat in your diet, perhaps, or not enough protein or not enough nutrient density. And then your body screams for food.
So there’s always a good reason why you emotionally eat. So I just want you to make yourself right. I just want you to embrace the fact that you’re human. You’re imperfect. You feel emotions. And when you can embrace that and start to love yourself a little bit for the times when you do emotionally eat, forgive yourself. And that will put you on the path to healing.
And when you start to embrace all the emotions in your life and not just the ones on your plate, not just the ones driven by food, we start to heal. Our relationship with food begins to heal when we embrace all the emotions of who we are. And that, my friends, is the magic of life.
I hope this was helpful!
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