From Ice Cream to I Scream: Coping with Feelings

By Lisa Christie on 05/24/2012
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Today’s post is from Green Mountain alum Jill C, who shares her journey to overcome emotional eating.

Since leaving Green Mountain, my life has changed. I enjoy movement and
incorporate it into my life regularly. I’m experimenting with Cooking 101. My binge eating has lessened. I’m becoming more and more aware that food is just food.

That is disappointing. Because now I have feelings. Big ones.
And I know that ice cream won’t solve them.

When I was stuck in diet mentality, I was really great at the whole
restricting thing. I lost a lot of weight. You’d think I’d be happy,
right?

Nope. I’ve never been so depressed in my entire life. I had these big
feelings that were not being bandaged by food, due to dieting. So what
did I do? I ate back all my lost weight, plus some.

I’ve broken free from the chains of dieting. I listen to my hunger and
satisfaction signals. I honor them imperfectly. But those stuffed down
feelings are arising again. I’m losing weight because eating more than
my body wants is less desirable & doesn’t feel very good.

Sometimes I think about that time period when I got really depressed,
and wonder if I will end up there again.

I won’t. I’m a different, stronger person now. I have better
boundaries, and lots of wise experiences to pull from.

But, I have to find other strategies to deal with my feelings. You know… more than the typical Weight Watchers strategies of: take a
bath, phone a friend, take a walk, get a manicure.

The strategies I want to bring to my feelings mean actually sitting
with those feelings. I trust that they won’t overcome my system like they did before.

For me sitting with my feelings includes allowing myself to cry &
knowing that I eventually will stop. I can journal through emotions,
and rip out the pages I’ve written, if I feel like it. I can scream in
my car, after a stressful day at work. Looking into the future, I’d
like to  experimenting with meditation and mindfulness. I’m starting to
open up to people who care about me, instead of always playing the
supportive, listening friend role.

Today was not one of those days. I was feeling so bad emotionally, and
I wanted my physical body to have those same feelings. So I went back
to my default of eating.

It takes time to build new neuropathways. I will be patient with
myself.  Two steps forward, one step back.

You can read more from Jill on her blog, Eating as A Path To Yoga or leave her questions/comments below.

9 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Thank you for letting me share my story!

  • Marsha says:

    Thank you, Jill, for being so brave to tell your story. You help so many when you do this. We are privileged to be able to share your journey.

  • Fiona says:

    Great post Jill – thank you.

  • Kelly says:

    This is gorgeous! I can so relate to ALL of it. Thanks for sharing, Jill.

  • Lori Schneider says:

    Thank you for being so honest about your journey! So proud of you doing the work that you are doing! It’s not easy sometimes! I can easily relate to everything you have said!

  • Julia says:

    Lisa, Jill, Marsha, Lori, Kelli, Fiona: You are not alone! My blog has SO MANY posts about RELAPSE b/c it feels like I’m always back ON THE FLOOR from depressing bingeing. But every time we get back up, we are the bravest people out there. So happy to be a part of this community of Warrior Women!

  • Nena says:

    Ice cream is not the answer – but it is a damn good excuse …

  • CiCi says:

    This post struck a chord with me, because reverted to binge eating to cope with my emotions after having lost 110 + pounds. In the past few months, I’ve regained almost 15 pounds as my bingeing has gotten worse. Rationally, I know ice cream isn’t the answer, but it’s the solution I repeatedly turn to. When I do try to sit with my feelings, I feel very overwhelmed by their intensity; my depression has resurfaced after a long hiatus.

    Jill, how have you, personally, gotten to the point where you feel capable of sitting with the feelings without feeling threatened that depression will overwhelm you again?

  • CiCi- I don’t choose to sit with my feelings each & every time. However, when I do sit with them, it is in an imperfect manner. I’ve stuffed down my feelings for decades. But through my practice of yoga & exploring my exiled feeling parts with helping professionals, I’ve definitely come a long way. I really try to infuse my Wise Woman Self (inner wisdom) into these situations. She reminds me how strong I am. Strengthening our emotional muscle, as well as our Self is so key.

    Often times, we who struggle with anxiety, depression, or eating disorders choose to stay in hibernation. We hide from love for a variety of reasons. I believe we were created to be known -in authentic community. So- reach out. Find safe people you can be your True Self with. At first that might mean with a therapist or in group therapy. When you are feeling stronger, maybe you will reach out to your place or worship, a 12-step group, a good friend, or even a partner.

    We desperately need to let love in.

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