I feel compelled to share — because I know it will help me to write about it and may help some of my readers to know — that I came home today after a stressful day at work and went straight to the kitchen (instead of my “toolbox” of self-soothing techniques like reading, writing, going for a walk, petting my kitties, etc.). I had barely put my things down before I opened the cabinet and got out the ingredients to make myself a not-so-healthy snack, knowing full well that I was not hungry and that I was eating for emotional reasons.
Here’s the most wonderful part about it (and I say this in all seriousness): I do not feel guilty about it. I called my partner downstairs to the kitchen and sat with him and recounted my day as I ate my snack — I even shared some of the food with him. It felt good to consume comfort food as I vented about the stress of the day. I can look at it objectively and say to myself, 1) I portioned out the food; 2) I shared the experience with someone who knows me and loves me for who I am; 3) I recounted the experience to my parents, who are super supportive; and 4) it’s okay for me to occasionally eat for emotional reasons instead of physical hunger.
In the past, this kind of episode of emotional eating would lead to a barrage of negative self-talk: “You shouldn’t have done that…You’re a complete failure…You should just binge the rest of the night and start over tomorrow with a clean slate.” Now, I’m able to say, “I was aware of what I was doing. I chose a snack that I knew would comfort me. It served its purpose. I shared the experience with others who love me and there’s no shame in any of it.”
Wow. This time, it was somehow easy to pick up the pieces after emotional eating. How do you, my readers, do that? Do you give yourself credit for small successes, like stopping a binge once you’ve started one or for bingeing but not purging or for journaling about your binges and just becoming aware of your triggers? All of these small successes need to be recognized. They count! Consider starting a list of your own small successes on your journey to get out of B.E.D.
Peace, joy, and health.