Emotional Eating

Emotional eating…

My immediate thoughts would have once only yielded negative connotations. Over the past 12 or so years my emotions have dictated my eating habits to the extreme, from not eating at all, severely restricting and extensive binging; it’s been a not so jubilant rollercoaster ride.

I ate to numb my emotions and to support them. On a good day, when success had been had I felt the need to over indulge, food always the reward of choice. A reward which for a fair few years I didn’t feel my body deserved. Restriction and purging where the punishment (…punishment for a crime I didn’t commit and one which no one deserves).

Some people believe the solution or cure for emotional eating is to completely separate food from their emotions. Food should be seen as fuel, packed full of the nutrients your body needs to keep it in tip top condition, nothing more, nothing less.

In the early stages of recovery I most definitely tried to take this on board and for quite sometime it worked. But let me tell you it was boring! Eating anywhere from 3-6 times a day, food which I’d spend hard earned money on,  prepared and not to mention cleaned up after. Not enjoying all the processes around it’s consumption left me feeling far from satisfied…on the contrary I felt a little empty.

The same foods featured day in day out, little variation occurred because I frankly I saw no purpose and had no reason to explore what food had to offer beyond the ritual of eating to maintain a healthy weight.

And then I started blogging…I fell back in love with cooking, creating new wonderful and interesting flavour and texture combinations, truly appreciating the joy associated with sitting down to indulge in a meal, be it sweet or savoury, that my own two fair hands had created.

I now respond to my emotions by nurturing them with the right type of food. The abusive relationship between the two ceases to exist. The important part being that I recognise and experience the emotions themselves as opposed to paralysing them.

I’ve always been obsessed with food, or at least for as far back as I can remember. I have not and will never claim to have let go of my obsession….an obsession which once yielded torment is now my greatest source of positivity and passion. It plays a HUGE part in my life, some might even call it abnormal; the definition of which I don’t feel can be defined, I much prefer to think of it as one of the things that makes me a unique individual!

I appreciate every single morsel that I can now truly enjoy without the looming guilt and sheer misery that would have ensued in the past. To experience joy from eating something delicious was one which I felt had to be saved for special occasions, to be followed and preceded by a period of restriction in order to allow for the indulgence.

I now eat with positive emotion on a daily basis and I’m appreciative of the fact that food has become way more than simply fuel..it enriches my life in every sense. Given the choice I’d never have it any other way. I acknowledge the fact that it’s by no means for everyone but it’s a big part of me, just one of the parts of me that I’m extremely proud of!

What are your thoughts on emotional eating?

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8 Comments

  1. Michelle, I totally agree with this post! I feel like my blogging has renewed my true love and appreciation for food. Since starting my blog I have broken down so many food fears and was able to rekindle my once really strong passion for cooking. Life needs to be connected to food in some way, it has the potential to bring so much joy and love when it is not abused!

  2. Thanks for opening up!
    Going through an eating disorder myself I had a lot of emotional eating as well and what you wrote really struck home on how I use to live my life (and sometimes still do).
    I would not eat because I did something “bad” that day or I would eat a bunch of food because I did something “good” but then be mad at myself for eating so much. It was a really twisted cycle I was on for a long time.
    I feel that now I am in a good place with food can still be emotional. But in a good way. I love making new recipe (this makes me emotional) or I love trying something new (this makes me emotional).
    Great post!

  3. Great post! I’ve gone through some of those emotional phases with food, sometimes positive (until quite recently) but most of the time negative. I’m learning to enjoy food again after struggling with eating disorders myself. Thanks to bloggers like you, I’ve been able to realise that I’m not alone in this and that it’s possible to recover and enjoy life. Cooking has been my life saving boat, it relaxes me during the preparation and gives me pleasure to eat something I cooked with my own hands.
    Thanks for sharing and for creating not only amazing and inspiring recipes but also a to host a great blog to share your writing talent.

  4. I used to eat my feelings, but over the years I’ve realized emotional eating can be a good thing as long as their is no restriction. Now I actually enjoy food rather that let it cover my feelings up. It feels good!

  5. I love how you say you now nurture your emotions with the right kinds of foods. It sounds like you’ve made a lot of wonderful progress to transform your relationship with eating. I really admire you! I’m so glad I found your blog x