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Emotional eating – you can’t want a “should”

emotional eating, you can't want a should, ditch the diet, face the feelings, Beth Gray, life coach, inner energy, innergetics, mBIT, mBraining

You can’t want a “should”… I mean… you should want it… but it’s hard to want a “should“.  Well, near nigh impossible!

As a toddler, we are really clear on “this is what I want” – either I “want it” or “I don’t want it”.  As a toddler, we never have that confusion over “I should want it, but I don’t really”. Our “no” is clearly enunciated at two years of age!

Unfortunately, as toddlers, we also learn that if we cry, we will probably be fed!  When my little one was a baby and she would cry, we would typically:

  • check the diaper
  • offer food
  • try to put to sleep
  • cuddle
  • check for colic

But as they get older, you stop trying to “put them to sleep” and you certainly stop checking for colic!  After a while, they grow out of diapers… and everyone sighs a collective sigh of relief!

But… just because a toddler cries, doesn’t mean that they need food – obviously, it can quite often mean they are hangry – they burn up a TON of energy! But there are other needs – especially the needs of human touch and cuddles!   There is a need to get out of the car and run around! There is a need to create and to participate in social interaction! There is the need just to be held for a moment!

But have you noticed what we do with children as they grow older?

  • don’t cry
  • don’t be sad
  • you’re not hurt
  • you’re being too sensitive
  • you’re being too emotional
  • pucker up
  • you’re a big girl/boy now
  • no throwing tantrums (because it’s obviously not okay to get mad!)

Emotional eating

And then we wonder why the last bastion is eating to suppress our emotions!  Because… when they cry, we give them “an ice cream” – or whatever the proverbial panacea in your home was.

Don’t panic – put the kettle on!

As we learn to repress our emotions – as we grow older – we find an “acceptable” outlet. Food = comfort – in moments of grief, loneliness, anxiety, frustration or stress! Welcome to emotional eating.  A temporary solution to your problems…

food as a panacea, eating feelings, swallowing pain, digesting

Because then… we discover the “problem”: “I’m eating too much”.


That’s the problem?

It’s what we’ve learned to identify as the problem – but is it really the problem?

And then, as we try to address our “eating” problem – we try to fix it with rules.

  • I should eat only healthy food
  • You really “should” only eat X calories a day
  • I should try this new ________ diet
  • You shouldn’t eat ________ because it’s bad for you.

And we start to place restrictions on ourselves – you can’t eat this, you mustn’t eat that… and we stop eating things we really enjoy because “someone” labeled them as “bad”.

After placing a strict over-restriction on ourselves – our response is a binge eating because “I just gotta have it“.

Then comes the guilt and shame… The failure…

And so we look for a new diet or a new set of rules – because these ones will finally work!

But, as we keep looking for an external solution for our relationship with food — we ignore completely looking inside.

If we would only learn to love ourselves – then we might start to take care of our needs. Especially our emotional needs!

Deep connection:

When was the last time you connected deeply with your body?

Do you remember what hungry physically feels like?  Not the head hungry of craving… the stomach and gut hungry of “grumbling”!

food, connection, hunger, feeling hungry, wanting to eat, needing to eat

When do you start eating?

When do you stop?

What do you do in the time between each eating moment?

Or does eating start in the morning and drag throughout the day as one continuous, unending occasion?

How connected are you truly with yourself during those moments?

If you truly loved yourself – you would connect deeply. This means taking care of your needs – including your emotional needs – your mental needs. What are you hungry for?  Compassion? Comfort? Love? Adventure? Creative endeavours? Knowledge?

And it would also mean that you could respect your body – weight and size – as it is TODAY!  Not the one that you want to have. The one that you have today!

mBIT Coaching

As an mBIT Coach, part of my training is about helping you to reconnect with your inner intelligence and discover your inner energy.  You have multiple intelligence centres (neural networks) in your body.  Yes – the most numerous neurons are located in your head – commonly referred to as your brain. But you also have neural networks around your heart and a “second brain” in your gut.  There is additional evidence to suppose that a fourth neural network (intelligence centre) is the Autonomic Nervous System and that we still don’t know everything there is about the neuroscience of the human body!

But, starting with what we do know:

  • your heart is the seat of your emotions – which means that you are meant to feel with your heart – not with your head.
  • your head should do all the work of thinking, analysing, making meaning, drawing conclusions, judging, imagining & visualizing.  The creative ability of the brain is boundless!
  • your gut is best suited for protecting you, keeping your safe, differentiating self from non-self (what is me and what is not me – what can be digested and what should not be digested), and is the seat of your most basic identity & intuition.

I am the master of my mind, choosing to honour my desires, analyse thoroughly, and listen to my gut.

As I lead you to reconnect with these different intelligence centres, you will discover that the “problem” is not eating. Eating is really quite simple & easy!  You are hungry. You eat. You are no longer hungry. You get back to activities!

Once we take eating out of the equation, however, you are left with a slightly more complicated task – that of living! That of truly connecting with your emotions and deeply identifying with yourself once more.  Learning to differentiate between your thoughts and what you really, truly, deeply know to be You!

Are you interested in taking this journey?

If you want to get to know more about your habits, why not have a look at tracking your emotions and your eating:

Thank you for asking to download the "Recording Sheet" in PDF format - Recording Sheet

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2 thoughts on “Emotional eating – you can’t want a “should”

  1. Emotions that are left uncheck hurts the most.

  2. […] you have a look at the recording sheet that’s available here on my Coaching site, you could record your hunger and the emotional state you are in at each […]

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