Overeating, binge eating, emotional eating. For almost everyone I talk to and work with, these negative eating patterns are a sign. A symptom. A red flag showing you that something is off in your life.
Eating more than your body needs with accompanying negative emotions such as guilt, overwhelment, loss of control and embarrassment, tells you that there are other areas of your life where you feeling less than positive.
Your food intake is a indication of that.
Your desire to eat is a RESPONSE. It’s you doing the best you can to soothe or deal with those emotional states.
Note: I will continue to use the example of overeating this post but for many, myself included, the desire to RESTRICT food or alter my diet in some way (that isn’t from a genuinely positive and inspired desire to improve my well-being) can also be a signal of underlying negative emotion.
Often times, because we get so good at overriding how we feel, pushing through anyway, putting on brave face, ignoring our wants in order to get a job done, being afraid to let our emotions flow, we don’t even recognize that something IS off. We something don’t even know how bad we feel because we are so busy trying to keep it all together!
And that’s a problem.
Because how you feel, how you REALLY feel, even if you have been covering it up with a false happy facade, is what you get more of in your life. Feeling stressed? You run into more scenarios to be stressed about. Feeling hopeless? You end you being in more situations where you are left hopeless.
You can see how this leads into that cycle of overeating (and food restriction in order to ‘fix’ it) which seems so hard to overcome. The thing is,
You can’t make a change if you don’t know there is a problem.
So, if you aren’t noticing what IS an issue that needs changing by the way you feel about it (because you have been artificially smoothing that over), you need another signal. Another indicator that so you can acknowledge how you really feel and make changes to rectify that. Your eating is that signal. And that’s a GOOD thing.
Your desire to over/binge/emotionally eat is GUIDANCE.
Showing you that there is something you need to pay attention to
Something you need to feel better about so
- You can feel better and
- You attract more into your life to feel better about.
So instead of beating yourself up for wanting to eat when you believe you shouldn’t, you can choose to notice and acknowledge the red flag that your desire to eat represents. You can appreciate the clue, the indicator, letting you know that the way you are feeling about something important needs your attention.
In the same way you don’t get annoyed at your gas gauge for letting you know your car needs petrol and you simply notice and are glad for the info, so too can you choose to feel the same way about your overeating.
Your negative eating patterns do not mean you are defective or undisciplined.
They are simply an invitation to look deeper.
To inquire within to find what the CAUSE of the overeating is, instead of merely trying to manage the symptom. Awareness and acknowledgement is a powerful practice. Recognize your signals. Honor your guidance. Be kind and gentle with your self when the red flags pop up.
And the more you do, the less red flags will be needed.