Oftentimes when you binge or emotionally eat, you are doing it to avoid something. To distract, to numb out, or “run away”. We don’t want to deal with whatever is happening in the moment, so we turn to food to temporarily distract us.
Note – this isn’t always the case – sometimes it is simply a conditioned habit, or the binge comes as a direct result of restriction of some form. However, there is often a desire to avoid underlying a binge or emotional eating.
It can be valuable to try to examine what you are running from. Perhaps you had an uncomfortable conversation at work, you got in a fight with your spouse, your day didn’t go like you had planned, or you simply don’t like the way your stomach looks in the pants you have on today. When you can take some time to do a thought download to see what is happening for you, chances are you will be able to uncover what you are running from.
Then it gets interesting. Consider what you are running from. Let’s say your day didn’t go as you planned. Your schedule is all jacked up, you thought you would have time to do that thing, and now it’s not going to happen. So you eat.
Now, examine what you are running to. You are running to the food. The temporary fix. That taste, the first few bites, the temporary escape. And how temporary it is. Sooner or later (could be 5 minutes, could be 3 hours) that “fix” is over and there you are. Miserable, ashamed, disappointed and probably feeling physically ill. Now look back on what you were running from. Was what you were running from really worse that what you ran to? When you can look at it with 20/20 hindsight of course the answer is no!
But maybe there is a lesson here. The next time you want to run to the food ask yourself – what am I running from? Pause. Tell yourself you can eat anything you want but you have to journal first for 5 minutes. Then start writing. Ask yourself these questions:
– What am I running from right now?
– What will I be running to if I choose to eat?
– What do I know to be true in this moment?
– What do I really need in this moment?
What about you? What were you running from the last time you binged or emotionally ate? What did you really need in that moment?