When I think of emotional eating, I automatically associate it with stress, sadness, frustration or anger. Most often, I think we as a society think of it as burying our negative feelings with food. What I hadn’t put together until just recently is that you can be a happy emotional eater, too! Parties, celebrations, hanging out with friends or loved ones, all these things seem to give us carte blanche to eat how we want because it is “special.”
I cannot tell you how many times my resolve has crumbled in the past when I am at a party or family gathering and there is cake (or cookies, or NACHOS OR PIZZA OR…wait, I’m getting distracted….) “Well, maybe just a little” turns into NOM, NOM, NOM, a mindless shoveling of poor choices into my mouth as I laugh and talk. It is almost as if, by not participating in the decadent eating we are somehow rejecting the celebration itself. Not true.
This is deep rooted in my southern family. We eat to celebrate, we eat to mourn, we eat whenever we gather. It just doesn’t seem proper to have someone over and not bake a cake and serve coffee. Even at church, it seems that is is rare when a gathering doesn’t involve food.
My paradigm shift has just become something I am ok with. I have learned that I can bring my own food, with extra to share of course, whenever I am headed somewhere I know will not have appropriate food choices for me. I am ok with sitting with friends who are eating cookies and sipping sweetened coffee while I merely enjoy the conversation and company.
I will have to reassure whoever I am with, constantly, that I am ok with not having what they are having and it, in fact, makes me happy that they aren’t denying themselves what they want. It doesn’t make me sad anymore because I know how far my body has come in the last 3 months and I LOVE that my pain is now just occasional nagging aches instead of mind numbing pain. I love that naps are a delicious occasional indulgence instead of a necessity to make it through the day. I love that I don’t have to say no to people or activities because I have to ration my energy.
So far I have made it through Easter, St. Patrick’s Day (corned beef, mmmmm), Mother’ Day, a handful of Disney visits, the death of two beloved pets, my daughter graduating high school and a road trip, all without succumbing to emotional eating. I have learned that depending on my faith in Jesus instead of empty calories is healing in more ways than one.
I know everyone always says “If I can do it, you can do it,” but seriously, it’s true.
Keep going, don’t give up, you are stronger than you know. ❤️