Recently, I have been learning more about emotional eating and many of the challenges that come along with it. We can all relate to eating a piece a chocolate when we are stressed, reaching for something salty or just the typical stress or depressed eating that we all have experienced at one point or another in our lives.
So why is it so hard to resist? Well, for many of us food has been rooted into our programming from early on. If you are a parent, or just observed parents and kids at a grocery store; I am sure you will recognize this next scenario. We will use Johnny as our child’s name. “Little Johnny, is throwing a fit in the grocery store. Mom reaches for a piece of candy or even a banana to get him to calm down. Once Little Johnny has this, low and behold he quietest down.” Now I can openly admit that when I am cooking dinner I will give my kids food if they start throwing a tantrum…I usually have raw veggies to give them and I haven’t ever given it a second thought. Now, I realize that even the act of comforting them with any type of food might not be the best choice.
We usually reach for food and have “emotional eating” when we are trying to fill another void in our life. Since this type of comfort has been established early on in our lives, it is understandable why it is that much harder to break as adults. So if you have kids, I urge you to be mindful and maybe not be so quick to comfort your kids with any type of food. Trust me, I know in the moment it is sometimes easier, but are we helping our children establish a healthy foundation with their relationship to food when we do the easy thing.
And as for us adults with emotional eating challenges, you are not alone so don’t ever feel embarrassed or ashamed. I will have more to come on this topic for adults with more helpful techniques. Trust me, breaking our bond with emotional eating is challenging, but not impossible! I believe that we all can overcome this and have a healthy and lasting relationship with food.