Coping with your emotions without turning to food is an important skill to have. Having the right tools to support your emotions can help you discern when coping with food isn’t helpful.
Here’s the thing: emotional eating is normal, but we don’t often see it that way. This is because the general perception is that emotional eating is bad.
We experience emotions all the time throughout the day. Eating while experiencing an emotion is natural. Therefore, eating emotionally is normal.
The reason why we’ve learned to make emotional eating bad is because of diet culture. Diet culture has taught us that eating ice cream to comfort yourself when you are sad is “bad”. However, eating a slice of cake on your birthday when you are happy is “acceptable”.
The way we view different emotions as good versus bad influences how we judge eating associated with these emotions.
Widening our toolbox beyond the food is the goal here. Coping with food is okay. And, we want to make sure it’s not the only tool we have in our toolbox.
Coping with your emotions without turning to food
Expanding your toolbox will help you cope with your emotions beyond food in 3 main scenarios: avoidance, distraction, and experiencing the emotion.
We need tools to help us avoid emotions when it’s not safe or appropriate to feel them in the moment. However, it’s important to always use avoidance tools with the intention of coming back to experience the emotion later.
You can also build up your toolbox with distraction tools. These tools can help occupy your time (e.g. watching tv) until you are ready to sit with the emotion. The problem with distractions though is when we are constantly using them and never allowing space to feel the emotion.
Finally, we need tools to support ourselves through the process of feeling an emotion. For example, this could be like using music, meditation, or movement to process an emotion.
In today’s episode, Sabrina Rogers is a licensed mental health counselor, intuitive eating and body image expert, and recovering perfectionist. After healing her own disordered eating and body image issues, she’s helping women make the shift to intuitive eating and body acceptance. Sabrina provides counseling to individuals in Iowa and coaching through Healthily Ever After a 20-week program to help perfectionistic women look and feel like they have their shit together. Sabrina is also the host of The Emotional Eating Therapist Show.
What you’ll learn listening to this episode:
- All eating is emotional eating
- Eating to cope works, it’s our first coping tool
- We can also benefit from having other coping tools so we are not always using food
- Examples of these other tools and how to find other coping tools
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