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Originally published at laurenbersaglio.com on August 18, 2011. Republished here with permission. Get your blog featured!
Today I want to discuss what it’s like when you stop using food as a way to cope with emotions. I am not going to lie, it sucks–at least it can at first. Why? Because we are so used to stuffing down our feelings, painting over them with layers of Nutella and cheese nachos.
When you begin breaking your emotional eating habits, then you have no other option but to feel your emotions to the full.
At the beginning, you may find you feel very deeply–possibly deeper than would be expected from any given situation. But this is OK. It is normal. So don’t worry!
I know for me I was surprised (and somewhat frightened) by how emotional I got over some situations in the early stages of breaking my emotional eating. I thought there was something wrong with me, but I stuck it out. I continued down the path of Intuitive Eating and, over time, I learned to handle my emotions and they balanced out.
Here is what Tribole and Resch have to say about this in their book “Intuitive Eating”:
Many clients have talked about having strange, uncomfortable feelings when they’re no longer using food to cope with their emotions. At the same time, they’re feeling happy and secure in their new Intuitive Eating style…There are a couple of reasons for the conflicting feelings.
You no longer have the ‘benefits’ of using food. While coping with food can be destructive, one client noted that on tough days she knew she could always go home to her chocolate. Now, instead, she’s “stuck” with experiencing her feelings. You might even need to go through a grieving period for the loss of food as comforter and companion.
You may also notice that you’re experiencing your feelings in a deeper, stronger way. Since you’re no longer covering them up with food, they may have a profound effect on you. This is a point at which some people decide that it would be helpful to get counseling as a way to process these long-buried feelings.
So, if you find yourself a bit more emotional, don’t worry! It’s normal.
Just roll with it, and don’t beat yourself up about it. Remember, it’s all part of the journey.
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Tribole, M.S., R.D., Evelyn and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A. Intuitive Eating. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2003.
Lauren is the Founder and Editor of Libero. She started Libero in April 2010, when she shared her story about her struggles with an eating disorder and depression. Now Lauren uses her writing and videos to advocate mental health and body positivity. In her spare time, she enjoys makeup artistry, playing Nintendo, and taking selfies with her furbaby, Zoey.
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