I remember this day when I was a child like it was yesterday. I was at the mall with my beautiful Nana and I was looking through the glass down at the bottom mall floor. Somehow I had gotten my finger through the two pieces of glass and got it stuck. My Nana freaked out and ran and got help to help free my finger. I can’t remember how my finger was freed, but what I did remember vividly from that day was the vanilla soft serve ice cream cone my sweet Nana gave to help stop my tears.
Many of us have grown up in a home where when you comforted with a treat if you were feeling sad… I believe that parents and grandparents give treats and sweets because they want us to feel better. They want to take the pain away for us. But the unfortunate part is we have been conditioned to use food to make us feel better and to comfort ourselves. When you break it all down, at the base of it all, we just want to feel better. We want to feel relief from our crappy, sad, or exhausting day. We want the world to melt away so we can have a sliver of time in which we can feel a little BETTER! This sliver of time melts away quickly after the feeding frenzy and the feelings that are temporarily numbed with food come bubbling back to the surface. I wish a candy bar was the solution to my day, it would be a really simple solution. But this just isn’t the case. We need to understand and open our eyes to see that this coping strategy of food is all we have ever known as a way to make us feel better. It isn’t the best coping strategy because after you eat the entire bucket of ice cream, chips, or cookies those better feelings are gone and you are left with a tidal wave of guilt.
Emotional eating is a coping strategy. The problem is that it isn’t a long-term solution to anything going on in your life. It is like putting putty over a crack in your house that keeps growing because your foundation is sinking. You are pacifying the situation with a temporary solution. One day your house will fall down if you don’t fix the problem. This goes for life too! You have to face the foundations of your life and see what is causing you to crack, literally!!
So what does a healthy coping strategy look like? It looks like giving yourself a list of things that help you feel a little better. I call this my self-love list because everything on it helps me fill up my own love cup. Meaning, that when you do something on this list you only get only feel love at the end of it. With something like emotional eating, it is usually a LOVE/ HATE scenario. You usually feel good when you are eating, but after the entire bag of chips is gone, you hate yourself.
Make a list of 10 Self Love’s for YOU! Start replacing your emotional eating with strategies that fill you with love! When you are feeling sad, upset, exhausted, stressed out, depressed or unhappy you can do things that make you feel better that don’t involve a whole tub of ice cream! This is where you get to create your own new coping strategies which fill you up with love.
Here are my top 10! Yours might be similar or totally different. This is what makes us all beautiful and unique.