It's one of the axioms that roll off the tips of peoples mouths like sweat rolling off my nose while on the ski machine. Now, I don't have anything against the notion of emotional eating. My problem is that the definition is so broad that everyone should be tipping the scales because everyone falls under the category of emotional eating.
If the definition is that we have emotional attachments and feelings toward food then I humbly suggest that this is a worthless definition that will do nothing to help those truly seeking to get at the root of their problems which lead them to over eat unhealthy foods. To say that I have an emotional attachment to food begs the question. Everyone does. How do we celebrate holidays? How do we celebrate birthdays? What do we do after a funeral? What do we do for family reunions? The list could go on and on and on. Yet, many people still manage to live a healthy lifestyle. In fact, I suggest that if you have no emotions regarding food then you are dead.
On the other hand, I like the Mayo clinic's definition of emotional eating:
But emotional eating — eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, anxiety, boredom, sadness and loneliness — can sabotage your weight-loss efforts. Often, emotional eating leads to eating too much food, especially high-calorie, sweet, salty and fatty foods.
Eating to suppress or soothe negative emotions makes a lot of sense to me. I can buy this definition. Thinking about this, I am not so sure that what happened the other day was actually emotional eating. It was simply a myopia resulting from stress. I was not eating to suppress anything. It was still a learning moment and a problem and yes very emotional, but in a different sense.
However, I can admit to having eaten out of boredom, but not enough to account for the weight I reached. If I have been trying to suppress other emotions, I have not figured out what they are. Maybe I need a shrink to help out. Certainly, I have felt a lot of depression, but that was only recent and could not account for it. I didn't eat any worse after the feelings as before.
Actually, I have come up with some issues I believe are related to the weight gain. I believe that one of the issues is control. I know that sounds strange because it seems like a lack of control is what got me that way. I think that I have felt that things in my life have been out of my control. I couldn't change people. I couldn't change my circumstances. I couldn't change this or that. Some I realize was just perceived and some I truly couldn't do anything about. Instead of dealing with my feeling of not being in control, I turned to food. If I wanted it, I could eat it. If I wanted this or that, I could eat this or that. If I wanted to eat half a pie or a dozen cookies, I could. I was in control of what I put in my body. I was in control of how much I put in body.
In reality, I was out of control...WAY OUT OF CONTROL. As I look back as to why I started this journey of fitness, I think I knew that I was out of control. Now, I believe that I am learning to control what I can, and learning to confront my feelings where I have no control.
In addition to the control issue, I believe I had an issue of self-respect. My lack of self-respect was passive rather than active. I simply didn't consider respecting myself. I didn't consider what I was doing to my body or how I was affecting myself and the people around me when I didn't eat healthy nor exercise. Now, I am trying to respect myself and to respect this body God gave me. This is where one of my greatest revelations came. When I respect myself, I show respect for every other aspect of my life. I show more respect for my wife and kids, my friends, my work, and everything else.
So I have discovered two main issues: Control and Self-Respect. I don't see how I was eating to suppress anything by these. Perhaps, I was and just don't realize it. In the broad sense of the term, I will always be an emotional eater. In the Mayo Clinic sense, I am still uncertain whether I fit the definition.
I am very thankful that I have come this far. I give credit to all you bloggers and commenters. You have been a tremendous help and motivation. I am looking forward continuing this journey for the rest of my life.
Living Fit Is My #1 Job!