Seeking Solace in Chocolate

chocolateOne of the joys of understanding anxiety and disordered eating behaviors is that I can now analyze the “whys.”

Before I just did stuff and didn’t know why I was doing it. That drove me insane because everyone always says, “there’s always a trigger; if hunger isn’t the problem, food isn’t the solution.”

Logically, I know this. But sometimes, chocolate IS the solution!

I don’t mean to imply it should be … just that sometimes, for me, it is.

Let me explain. Yesterday, I had a particularly emotional day.

Whereas before blogging/before therapy I might have turned to chocolate and gone to town chewing and spitting to ease my anxiety/anger …

This time, as I reached for chocolate I knew why I was doing it.

(I was upset, anxious, stressed. I was, in a way, emotionally eating … but not in a dangerous binge-like manner. Rather, I was indulging my “wild child” if you will, something Geneen Roth talks about in her book Breaking Free From Emotional Eating).

Sometimes, this sheer knowledge of “why” is enough to get me to stop myself. But not always. And this was not one of those times.

“Perfect girl” Melissa might have berated herself for this; knowing “why” and still eating something she didn’t “need”.

But this Melissa, this Melissa who is kinder to herself and realizes that sometimes a little chocolate (even if not “needed”) really can make her feel better … well, she didn’t bat an eye.

Why? you ask.

Well, I’m learning (through experience and books I’ve been reading) that it’s not always a bad thing to give into our cravings/impulses. Especially if we can identify why and aren’t doing it mindlessly.

The next step to enlightenment would be not giving in at all, ever, but frankly that is inhuman and would make for a boring life.

So instead, I told myself, “Melissa, you’re anxious in this moment. You’re upset and you don’t like being upset. Chocolate isn’t the solution, you know that. You do. Chocolate is junk food, and you’re using food for comfort. You’re stressed, not hungry.”

Then I said, “But look, if you’re going to eat it, you will enjoy it.”

And enjoy it I did. And the sky did not fall and I didn’t get arrested by the Chocolate Police.

Granted, anything tastes better when it’s not eaten during a stressful time, but being able to pinpoint my stress and anxiety helped a lot.

Maybe next time, like many other times, I’ll be strong enough to say, “Chocolate, you’re not the solution.”

But yesterday, it gave me what I needed in that moment: just a little bit of solace.

How about you? Do you feel guilty when you knowingly give in to emotional eating, or are you more comfortable with the notion now?

10 thoughts on “Seeking Solace in Chocolate

  1. This raises some interesting issues. Personally, I honestly don’t always know exactly why I am about to binge/indulge. I try to ask myself because I know that can be helpful, but in that moment I just go, “uh, I don’t know, because it sounds good?!” Afterward I can usually identify a trigger (or a whole string of them). I think the scary thing is, in that moment, I don’t really want to stop. If I wanted to stop, I wouldn’t be doing it, right?
    I’m glad you had some and enjoyed it without the usual bad habits/feelings associated with it. I am trying to incorporate more “forbidden foods” into my “good” days, so make them seem more normal and not so sacred.

  2. Lara, that’s the same conclusion I’d come to about my icky c/s habit … I LIKED doing it. I have been “sober” over 6 weeks now, but I enjoy the feeling in the moment … just as in the moment yesterday, I enjoyed the choc. πŸ™‚ Good idea incorporating those things into it as you go!

  3. Sometimes I am comfortable while eating purely because of my feelings and then I wonder why… I think it’s because I’ve gone through the personal journey of emotional eating and back and I know that it’s okay if I slip-up. And maybe a “slip-up” isn’t a slip-up at all, maybe it’s just me being human and craving a good piece of chocolate every now and again πŸ™‚

  4. The other night, I got an INTENSE choco-craving. I had an active day (an active few days), pllllus it’s almost that TOTM. So, I had a bowl of ice cream. And a couple other chocolate snacks. While I felt guilty for a second because I knew I didn’t NEED them, I truly enjoyed each bite. And I also woke up the next morning and made it a “good” day, rather than spending the day beating myself up for it. I knew I wasn’t going to gain 5 pounds, or even 1, from that evening.

    So, like you, I hope next time I can resist if I’m not truly hungry. But for now, I’ll take enjoying the chocolate and knocking that craving outta the ballpark so it doesn’t consume my mind! πŸ™‚

  5. Amen, Danielle. I think that’s the pinnacle in a way, where we recognize it as just a natural craving, no guilt attached and don’t view it as a slip-up; it’s not always such!!

    Holly, I’m not even near TOM and yet I was a fiend for it πŸ˜‰ Good for you, not beating yourself up – that’s awesome!!!

  6. i was having a bad day on tuesday and i found myself wandering around Walgreen’s, and of course everywhere you turn in there is junk food and candy so i was really tempted. when i got to the checkout, my eyes landed on one of those Lindt chocolate truffles – the pure milk chocolate kind – and i knew that would take care of the craving that i’d worked up just by being in the store. and it totally did! i saved it until right before bed (actually, i kind of forgot that i had it once i got home!) and it tasted so good. and that’s all i really wanted was a small taste, just a little something to make me feel comforted on a bad day.

  7. For me, I actually feel disappointed in myself when I ask myself “why am I doing this?” and am able to answer it with “I’m stressed, lonely, overwhelmed.” Asking and answering myself means I am AWARE of what I’m doing so I feel like I need to get to that step of reacting healthfully to the awareness. I want to answer myself with “yes I’m stressed but let’s not use food as a crutch today.” I want to train myself that food isn’t always the solution to my problems. I want to start reacting in other ways by leaving the kitchen and going for a walk or journaling. Know what I mean?

  8. Sounds PERFECT Auntie!! Sometimes when we can’t get the hug we need at that moment, or the walk, or the journal, it helps!!

    Julie, I DO know what you mean, and I’m often proud of myself when I can identify it and step away and not use food as a crutch — but I guess I’m also seeing that — so long as it’s not abused, it’s not always such a bad thing to give in to a craving/feeling.

  9. YES, definitely. I always give in. But it usually leads to a binge for me, so I end up feeling REALLY guilty and I’ll “punish” myself by trying to eat as little as possible until it’s made up for. Most of the time I feel nothing during an episode. It hits me afterwards. The worst times are when I’m binging AND feeling guilty at the same time, and I wanna stop, but my body won’t let me.

    Sorry, kind of got off subject, but that’s my stress dealers. lol

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