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My relapse back into emotional eating

January 2018

By Jessica Worth, Nutritionist, Sydney, Mona Vale

I’m an emotional eater. I always have been. Like many women, I find comfort in food. It used to be worse when I was a teen. I could sit and eat a whole block of chocolate in one sitting, without even realising. But as I became more comfortable in my own skin I also became more self aware and was able to recognise what I was doing.

Why am I telling you this? I have a point, I promise. It’s like a rollercoaster, hold tight.

Last year I got married, woohoo! It was the best day ever.

But 10 days later, I had to put my dog down. If you’re not a dog person you may not understand the enormity of that statement. She was 10.5yrs old. She was my friend, confidant, snuggle buddy, counselor, secret keeper, exercise partner and more. So to say I took the loss hard is an understatement.

For the first two months I couldn’t verbalise it or talk about it without bursting into tears.

I felt so lonely, even though I wasn’t physically. So I relapsed back into emotional eating. I didn’t care what I ate or what I drank (we had alcohol left over from our wedding, easy access was part of my downfall). I just wanted to fill that empty feeling. Numb the pain.

Here’s the thing with emotional eating; it’s always there. As you grow and realise who you are, you just learn how to manage it, until its not a daily issue anymore.

Steps to bring you back from emotional eating

  1. Recognise what you’re doing. I knew what I was doing, I knew I had to stop, I had to make that choice.
  2. Talk to someone about it. Don’t be embarrassed to seek out help. We all need help from time to time.
  3. Start choosing more nourishing foods. Load up on more vegetables, snack on fruit and nuts. Refocus on what you’re putting in and crowd out the “bad”.
  4. Stop when you’re full. When you emotionally eat, you eat beyond the point of full. You keep going and going.
  5. Start exercising. For me, I stopped exercising as much, I just wanted to sleep and binge on Netflix.
  6. Don’t isolate yourself. You’re emotionally eating to mask your feelings. Force yourself to catch up with friends, because this is when you’re not stuck with your own thoughts.

Forgive yourself

So you relapsed. Accept that this has happened, don’t eat more because you feel guilty for what you have done or been doing.

You need to forgive yourself.

Relapsing does not make you a failure. You’re still the awesome person you’ve always been to your family and friends.

I hope that this post has helped just one person. Because the more we talk about our feelings, the less we eat them.

Until next time… x

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