If you struggle with emotional eating, chances are something in your life is out of balance – whether you realize it or not. This is because emotional eating is often triggered by stress and attempts to use food to make yourself feel better. There are many difference areas of our lives that could be out of balance. You might be lacking purpose or meaning in your life, stuck in a job you hate, or maybe you don’t have the love and intimacy you desire to have in your life. When we are dissatisfied with a certain area in our lives, we often turn to food as the best available substitute to bring us pleasure or comfort. Can you think of a time when a challenging area of your life affected your eating behaviour?
While there is nothing wrong with receiving pleasure from food, when you constantly rely on food to receive temporary pleasure and fill a void, the line between physical and emotional hunger blurs and can lead to bingeing and overeating. Not only can this cause unwanted weight gain, but it also leaves us with feelings of guilt and shame and nowhere closer to satisfaction and overall contentment in our lives.
Yes, using food as a substitute for what you truly desire is challenging and a nuisance, but wait...it’s also a gift! That’s because your emotional eating has a hidden meaning. Your eating challenges are alerting you that something in your life is out of balance. Its trying to grab your attention and show you that your needs aren’t being met! You are trying to use food to overcompensate for that imbalance. But your emotional eating’s purpose is to show you what areas require more attention. Ultimately, it is asking you to dig deeper and grow as a person.
To discover the true message behind your emotional eating, take a look at all the different areas of your life and try to figure out which ones are not in balance. (Remember that no area is or will ever be completely perfect, but you should feel satisfied with each area of your life).
Look at the list below and rank each area on a scale of 1-10:
Hobbies & Interests
The areas that you ranked the lowest indicate dissatisfaction. So, now you’ve identified which areas need some extra attention. Look at the area(s) you’ve identified and ask yourself these questions:
What can I do to create more satisfaction and happiness in this area of my life?
How can I feel less burdened by this?
Can I get support from others?
Remember that this doesn’t necessarily mean that you solve all your problems and get rid of them for good. But you should be able to explore some possibilities to make some improvements! Perhaps it means re-evaluating certain friendships or relationships which are causing unnecessary stress in your life. Maybe you need to create a Self-Care Routine (check out my blog on that here) or maybe you need to re-direct your career. Whatever it may be, consider how you can create more joy and satisfaction in your life and go for it!
When you listen to what your heart is truly craving, you have discovered the hidden meaning behind your emotional eating and only then can you resolve it for good.