Do you want to know why Emotional Eating isn’t always such a bad thing? Emotional Eating gets a bad rap because most people think of it as the type of eating that is impulsive and leading to deeply negative emotions. But there is also the type of Emotional Eating that can be good for your soul.
The Bad Kind of Emotional Eating
Impulsive Emotional Eating that is impulsive is not a good idea. Why? Because it never truly makes you feel better and almost always leads you to feel worse than before you started eating. This is the type of Emotional Eating that brings on feelings of shame and guilt instead of happiness and satisfaction. This type of eating never actually fixes the emotional problem that caused the eating in the first place.
It’s important for us all to have multiple ways to cope with our emotions. When you only use eating as a coping mechanism, you open yourself up to never being able to properly identify the reasons for your negative emotions or learn to deal with them. When the emotional problem remains after you eat (or rather overeat), all that’s left are the negative feelings from impulsive eating. In this case Emotional Eating is not a good coping strategy to rely on. You should have multiple coping mechanisms to help you navigate through negative emotions. These could include talking to a therapist or a friend, being active, or taking some time for self-care (mani-pedi’s anyone?).
If food makes you feel guilty, then Emotional Eating is definitely the wrong coping mechanism for you! You may want to check out my article on Intuitive Eating, which is a method of eating without guilt. An intuitive eater eats the foods they want when hungry, enjoys the food they eat and respects their fullness. An intuitive eater is a good candidate for Emotional Eating.
The Intuitive Eating Principle #7 states that you should not use food as a coping mechanism for negative emotions, but Principle #5 states that food should be pleasurable, satisfying and make you feel happy. I’m going to read in between the lines here and say that you can use food to soothe if it’s done in a responsible way (and only when you have multiple ways to cope with stress).
Enjoy Your Food
Eating should never just be about fuelling our bodies, it should also be about pleasure. How boring would life be if we just ate for the sole purpose of survival instead of both survival and enjoyment? Eating great tasting food should be a positive experience that makes you feel happy!
Soothe With Food and Family
After an exhausting day or week, it’s nice to have something to look forward to. If you are not an impulsive eater, then there is nothing wrong with looking forward to soothing your tough day with pizza night and a glass of wine! It’s made even better when you have family and friends who can join you! Talking about your day with important people and experiencing food that you enjoy is a great way to feel better.
Emotional Eating isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it’s done in the right way. When you intuitively eat, have multiple coping mechanisms and when you can enjoy food without negative feelings, you should definitely feel okay about soothing yourself with great tasting food and even better company!