Emotional eating is a way to disconnect from our feelings. Very often it isn’t a specific feeling we are afraid of, but just afraid to feel any feeling.
Here at Green Mountain at Fox Run, our women’s healthy weight retreat, we know that women often don’t know where to begin to understand the feelings that may lead them to eat. I call the process of reconnecting with your feelings the Archaeological Dig. Using your curiosity rather than judgement to explore what is going on underneath the eating is a way to start digging deeper into understanding your feelings.
Questions such as these might help you start your Archaeological Dig:
- When was the first time you remember emotionally eating?
- Do you remember what was going on?
- What foods are you attracted to now? Are these foods you used in the past to cope?
- What feelings were not ok for you to express in your family of origin?
Daniel Goleman has written extensively about Emotional Intelligence. In his article Are Women More Emotionally Intelligent Than Men? he reports:
Emotional intelligence has four parts: self-awareness, managing our emotions, empathy, and social skill. There are many tests of emotional intelligence, and most seem to show that women tend to have an edge over men when it comes to these basic skills for a happy and successful life.
But even with higher emotional intelligence, women who use food to cut off from their feelings often have to do some digging to understand the emotions that may be contributing to the urge to eat mindlessly.
What feeling leads you to emotionally eat most often? If you don’t know, just guess.