The stereotypical image attached to emotional eating is of the depressed woman sitting in front of a television with a container of ice-cream, spoon in hand, watching a sad movie. You don’t have to be sad to be an emotional eater, and you don’t have to be a woman.
I love eating. There isn’t much I won’t eat, whether I like it or not. Eating makes me feel good. The better it tastes, the better I feel. I’m not an eat-to-live sort of person. I live to eat. I spend a great deal of time thinking about my next meal.
Eating can’t be bad, right? We need it to live. Yes, but.
Yes, but I overeat. I overeat because eating makes me feel good. It makes me feel happy, like I’m high. Before I begin eating I promise myself I’m going to be mindful, eat with control. Once the food passes the lips I’m a shark and there’s blood in the water.
Feeding Frenzy… then the Guilt Fest. I eat to feel better about overeating. It’s illogical, but it makes sense when I’m chewing. It’s a quick fix and like any quick fix, it only deals with the symptoms and not the cause.
As a man, when I overeat, the assumption is I lack willpower, or I’m just pigging out. This is what I told myself, too. My overeating is more than hedonism and it took me years to discover I was using food like a drug, more specifically, an antidepressant.
The real issue isn’t food or eating. Like any person who uses emotional eating to fill a void, I am looking for some control in a busy, stressful life. As a parent and teacher who spends every waking moment serving others, I’m looking for moments of completely selfish joy.
Emotional Eating is a monkey on my back. It is something I struggle with every day. Some days are good and some are not. I try to always remember food can be enjoyed in moderation. I try to eat slowly. Before I consider a large portion, dessert, or seconds, I try to take a moment to ask myself if I want it or need it. It’s a work in progress.