This past month has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. All the feelings. All the emotions. All the life stuff.
My stomach has been in knots. I haven’t even wanted a Reese’s. You know, those peanut-buttery chocolate coated candies. They’re one of my favorite things, especially the holiday varieties. They come in trees around Christmas, eggs for Easter, hearts for Valentine’s, and I’m not sure if they offer any other holiday-themed options, but I am sure that when I see these special edition packs, I stock up and I hoard them, like a little kid who’s worried she may never see Santa again.
So when I tell you that I haven’t even thought of a holiday-variety Reese’s – trust me – it means something.
What I have wanted, however, is comfort food. Items that top my list: peanut butter and jelly on grainy wheat bread, mac n’ cheese, chili, soup, and trail mix sprinkled with dark chocolate chunks. This is what feels good in my body, my stomach, and for my spirit right now.
Which leads me to the idea of emotional eating. Often, it’s touted as the “bad guy.” A major “no-no.”
When I first started out as a Dietitian, 8 years ago, I’ll tell you that I thought it was a bad thing too. Because quite honestly, yes, you learn all of the nutrition science in school, but you don’t learn the stuff that you really need to know until you’ve experienced more life and until you start working closely with clients who want a healthy, happy relationship with food and their body.
Here’s what I know today: emotional eating isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a thing. A thing that just is.
And when we stop judging ourselves, and we allow ourselves to get curious and observe why we do what we do, we learn about ourselves. When we learn about ourselves, we know ourselves. And when we know ourselves, we take better care of ourselves. We accept ourselves. We treat ourselves with compassion. And that – for me – is the crux of this whole wellness thing.
To be really honest, when we’re awake and aware enough in our own lives and more importantly, about how we feel in our bodies and what we need, we can make the empowered, conscious decision to eat what our bodies need. To eat what we crave. And the beautiful thing is that when we’re in this accepting, honoring state, we enjoy our food, we taste our food, and we don’t feel crazy around food.
And when we don’t feel crazy around food, food is just food. It doesn’t have any more power over you than you let it. That I know for sure.
If “emotional eating” is a thing for you, I want you to try something you may think is kind of crazy. Instead of beating yourself up for it, allow yourself to enjoy the food you want to eat in that moment – to the fullest extent. Because guess what? You’re allowed to use food to celebrate (that’s why birthday cake, holiday cookies, and fun treats, like Reese’s exist).
You’re allowed to eat your favorite comfort meal after a bad day. You’re allowed to eat foods that make you feel grounded after an emotionally draining experience.
And, you’re allowed to eat whatever you want “just because.”
You’re allowed. You have full permission to do what you need to do.
Because the funniest thing about this whole thing, is that when you really give yourself permission to eat what you want, and you’re tuned-in to your body enough to know what you really want, food loses its power. In turn, you take back your power. And when you feel empowered here, you then realize that you can change this whole shaming food dynamic around so you become the master of your own life. You get to determine how you feel in your body. You get to nourish yourself how you see fit. Not anything or anyone else. And that, my dear sweet friend, is one of the most powerful dynamics around.
With lots of love,