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?