I grew up in the type of family where food was the center of a lot of things.
Food was an integral part of celebrations, conversations, happiness, sadness, entertainment and so on
On my mom’s side, my grandpa S loved to cook the most savory things like perogies, and fall off the bone ribs and fried pickerel. My grandma T on my dad’s side loved to bake (she made the most amazing banana cream pies and cookies and carrot cake). We were always surrounded by good food.
And it wasn’t the food’s fault …
Feeling sad: have a cookie.
You did great on your report card: let’s go out for ice cream!
You had a bad day: let’s have some chocolate and talk about it.
Even though food has always been an emotional thing for me, I never made the connection that I was an “emotional eater” or a “stress eater” or whatever you may want to label it.
But it became glaringly obvious to me once I got the tools and knowledge to make healthy choices in my life, that there was something deeper tugging at me and sabotaging a lot of my efforts. Especially in the kitchen.
Food was my answer.
It didn’t matter the question.
And let’s face it, if I had a bad day, I wasn’t craving salads and raw veggies. I wanted ALL the comfort food.
This led to deeper discussions with myself as to why I felt like I COULDN’T stop eating crap ! Why I could make promises to myself to do better tomorrow. Or the next time …but why I couldn’t stick with that…
Was I addicted to sugar ? (Who isn’t)
Were hormones making it worse ? (Maybe sometimes)
But there was more …
When I gained 50lbs it didn’t happen overnight.
There were constant little things happening all the time. Choices (whether they were conscious or subconscious) that got me to the point I was before I started to workout from home and learn how to eat by tracking macros and portions !
As I took it day by day, workout by workout, meal by meal, progress happened. I started to build faith in myself. I started to learn how it felt to feel GOOD!
Not tired, or sluggish or on edge all of the time. Not bloated and uncomfortable… I FELT HEALTHY. And wow, that s$&@ felt good 😂
And you’d think that would be enough. Knowing how good healthy feels.
But let’s get serious, this is REAL LIFE.
Curveballs happen in life. Emotional stuff. Partners. Kids. Holidays. Work stress.
Things out of your control.
Usually I would stumble. But I’d get right back up again thanks to the little online community I had built with my coaching journey.
We’d use the stumbles as reflections. And things we could relate about. And we’d work through it. Together…
But I noticed myself slipping back into old habits before Christmas this past year.
I noticed myself more tired.
I noticed that when I was feeling sad or anxious my first instinct was to reach for food. Comfort food. Chocolate was my weapon of choice lol
I realized I was pushing further and further into the same darkness I was in before I found my fit family. Before I found home workouts for my anxiety. Before I learned what good foods did for my body…
I wasn’t talking about it.
I didn’t want to acknowledge my flaws.
I didn’t want to let the other women who believed in me and looked at me as a leader to be let down.
Withdrawing was the worst thing I could’ve done.
It didn’t change anything. I felt alone.
As the emotional eating took hold of me again I realized this was something I was going to be dealing with for my whole life.
I realized certain things triggered my eating.
I realized I wasn’t showing myself the same self love I told my clients and coaches to show themselves.
Whether it was an argument with my husband, or the stress of the holidays, or the overwhelming sense of not knowing what was wrong with our chronically ill son, it didn’t matter.
Food was what I was turning to.
And food wasn’t truly filling that void.
I’ve been working REALLY hard at this part of my life for the past few months.
I’ve started to talk about it more. I’ve started to write about it more — because a) it’s therapeutic and (b) the more I talk about it the more I realize I’m certainly not alone in this struggle.
I don’t think I’m the only mom to collapse on the couch at night and try to make a bad day disappear with a bag of chips.
Or the only woman who has been talked down to at work or had the whole work/ home life balance collapse in front of them feeling like the only way to cope is to eat chocolate until the pain is numbed.
Or even the only woman who has been in a dressing room, tried on ten outfits with no luck, feeling completely unhappy with her body, only to stop for a cheeseburger and ice cream on her way home (face palm)
I’ve been that woman. And more.
When my son became ill 4 years ago I kept thinking it was a big mystery we were just working at to solve. But as time went on. And there were more questions than answers, a lot of things changed.
Last year as he was referred to a chronic pain team I started to realize there may never be answers. That this was our new reality. So how were we going to take the steps to parent and support a child with a chronic illness?
Some days it overwhelms me. So much out of our control. So much out of his. And some days it’s my biggest trigger for emotional eating.
Again, it was also something I was very quiet and private about. Another thing I tried to take on, and handle, all by myself.
I’m learning to talk about it more.
I’m learning to ask for help more and I’m learning to find outlets other than food for stress relief : working out, yoga (both coming from my amazing on demand app), meditation (love my Calm app) and writing (this blog).
Sigh. We are so much. To so many people.
But at what point do we start showing that much love and attention to ourselves?!
I refer to this as the next step of my journey.
The learning never ends.
I know I will always be an emotional eater : but how can I continue to work on being a healthier me in the process?! IN SPITE of it? THAT is the real question.
I’m going to share that as I go. And hopefully I can learn some lessons along the way, and share some mistakes to help others avoid them lol.
I’m curious to know in the meantime : does this sound like something you struggle with? Can you relate ? Drop me a message below if it spoke to you so I know the need is out there for me to share more!
Thanks for stopping by
2 thoughts on “Stress Eaters Unite”
Yeah that pretty much describes me to a T. Eating when I am happy, sad, angry. Stressed, anxious…..feeding myself comfort on a plate. Then hating myself for doing it. Berating myself for not being strong….loosing the battle within myself. I have literally made myself sick, high blood pressure, diabetes…other health problems. I know i am not the only one it does feel lonely tho
the struggle is real! you’re certainly not the only one! it’s so hard though when we keep it to ourselves and feel like we ARE alone! if you ever need any support let me know xo