Why does it still surprise me?
This pull to emotional eating. This crazy notion that if I just keep eating life will get easier. It’s insidious. A deep ingrained lie I know is not true. Taking another bite will not make everyone in my world happy. It will not pay the bills, solve the complex issues of life, or even make me feel better.
I KNOW this. This truth is an integral part of my life of this journey to being new inside and out.
I don’t believe the lie. It is no longer a hidden motivator lurking beneath the action of moving food from the cupboards and into my mouth.
So what’s going on? Why last week did I feel blind-sided by the mindless impulse to find one more thing to eat?
It goes back to habits, I think. Not so much habits of the body, but of the mind. In this season of re-training myself to recognize emotional eating for what it is I must constantly step up to the plate with my illuminated understanding, reject the lie that eating will help me feel better, and choose to believe my new truth. Being healthy makes me feel better; eating more than I should or things that hurt my body ends up hurting me. Emotional holes can’t be filled with food; It’s connecting with God I need, not more calories.
Looking back there are a few practical things that would have made the temptation less or helped me avoid it all together.
- I should have eaten on schedule. I let other priorities push my meal back which made me physically vulnerable.
- It was difficult to get to my meal on time, so I could have chosen a simple, healthy snack instead of running on empty. When you eat less you have to eat more often. And being hungry affects everything.
- I needed to guard my emotions. Someone in my world was down that day. Instead of recognizing the pull to wallow with this person, I mindlessly slipped into someone else’s unhealthy pattern. A better choice would have been to place this person into God’s hands and choose hope and courage.
- I needed to deal with my emotions, not stuff them down until they screamed out for food.
I did okay that day. I had a few extra bites, but recognized the emotional impulse before I lost control. Then I spent a little time facing my negative emotions and telling God how I felt. I asked Him for help and for the strength to persevere.
I suppose what I’m learning is how long-term the process of changing thought pattern can be. Even when I cognitively KNOW the best response, my natural default is to respond out of old behavior patterns. And the road to victory is just what we’ve been talking about all along. Making one right choice, then another. Being mindful of what I’m doing and why. Giving myself grace when I stumble and never giving up.
What About You? Any practical tips you can share to help us all stay on this victorious road?