Some of our dieters have been recently dealing with the issue of emotional eating. Diana in particular has noticed this because she’s coming up to the anniversary of a loved one’s death. What’s interesting about Diana’s situation is that originally she wasn’t even fully aware that the anniversary was looming; instead she just noticed feeling more emotional and having an intensifying desire to eat to comfort or distract herself.
During the group today we discussed that dieters need to remind themselves that eating will only serve as a temporary distraction; it won’t solve the problem. And actually, unplanned eating will only cause dieters to have two problems – the original problem, and now the additional problem of going off plan, feeling weak and out of control, and potentially gaining weight. Dieters need to squarely ask themselves, “Do I want to have one problem or two?”
It’s also helpful for dieters to remember that there is no direct link between feeling bad and eating. Naturally thin people, and people who have lost weight and maintained their weight loss, don’t turn to food for comfort. The former often don’t because it doesn’t even occur to them, and maintainers don’t because they know that they simply can’t emotionally eat if they want to keep the weight off; they know that they have to find other ways to find comfort.
We also discussed the notion that negative emotions are a part of life, and that it’s okay to feel badly sometimes. We live in a feel-good society where many people think that experiencing negative emotions is somehow bad or wrong. It’s important for dieters to learn that they can tolerate feeling bad and that it’s perfectly normal.
To deal with this difficult time, Diana is going to try praying more often and drinking soothing hot tea. She’s going to remind herself that negative emotions are a part of life, and that at the end of the day she’d rather only feel bad about one thing and not two. As she succinctly put it, “Time does heal you. Food does not.”