By: SeYoung K.
Bad food habits have followed me for years. I run to ice cream, french fries, and everything in between when I’m going through a rough season in my life. I wish it wasn’t true, but in those seasons my face did slightly resemble the large deep dish pizza I devoured through “stress eating.” This is a dangerous train to hop on because you can quickly get caught in the cycle. What is this cycle? It’s letting your emotions take control of your eating habits, which causes guilt and shame and in turn eating more junk to combat those feelings.
If you are a stress eater, you know this cycle all too well. In order to combat this, I’ve tried a few things like writing myself notes on the fridge as a reminder to slow down before I just grab the first thing in the fridge and slam it down in light of a fleeting emotion. Easier said than done, right? I’ve also tried letting myself only have a little bit of my immediate food craving. This was the worst idea by far. I would have just one cookie and that would turn into a box really quickly.
My best advice for the stress eaters out there is to try being more vocal about your emotions. You would be surprised at how much verbally processing your inner world can change your behavior. It also makes you well aware that you’re not just someone who has a crazy appetite and needs to eat everything in sight. You’re trying to respond to an emotional need with a physical means. Now, I’m not saying we all shouldn’t eat what we enjoy. I can say with confidence that I will never give up my ice cream. I’m saying we shouldn’t use food as a therapist.A part of loving your body during a stressful season is to nourish it. When you start to abuse food, you end up resenting yourself. I would swing from not eating anything to eating everything in my cabinets, and it would show on my face. Literally. My skin was starving of nutrients, and I was too busy throwing myself a pity party with Oreos and mac n’ cheese. If you struggle with being an emotional eater, there is something more there at the core. I am not anywhere near perfect, and this post is not for the sake of perfection. It’s to examine what is really behind stress eating, and ways to move forward to a healthier, more alive you!