Let’s talk about feelings.
To change our eating habits and eat healthier with ease, we need to understand the connection between food and our feelings.
Feelings are the core reason behind every action we take in life.
We do everything because of our feelings, and we don’t do everything because of our feelings.
Every feeling we experience leads to an action, inaction, or reaction.
And if our feelings aren’t managed properly, it can put us on a slippery slope.
Especially with our eating habits.
So, let’s dive right in and talk about why your feelings matter.
Imagine if someone could tell you exactly what to eat to be healthy every week.
And then you followed through with your healthy eating plans without fail.
Chances are, you’ve tried to do this.
And it’s also likely that you’ve failed to follow through numerous times.
Nothing has gone wrong here.
This isn’t your fault.
It’s because of your feelings.
Our feelings are why most meal plans and weight loss programs do not work long-term.
The action-based food plans skip this internal work.
They may tell you what actions to take, but they don’t tell you how to bring yourselves to take the right actions with food.
Which is what you need to focus on to form healthy eating habits that last.
When you only focus on the actions with food, you will eventually self-sabotage.
Because your brain hasn’t aligned with the food actions you want to take.
And when you have your brain working against you, you will lose every time.
How good you are at managing your feelings is directly correlated with how healthy your relationship with food is.
Much of the time when we indulge in unhealthy food, that we don’t really want to be eating, it’s because we want to fill an emotional void.
We feel like we’re lacking a basic emotional need.
Such as success, validation, intimacy, love, acceptance, etc.
Which causes a negative emotion inside of our body.
Such as self-doubt, resentment, hate, or shame.
There are a myriad of reasons why you might feel unfulfilled emotionally.
It is completely normal for us to feel like something is “missing”.
Emotional voids are part of what makes us human.
However, it becomes a problem when we fill those emotional voids with unhealthy foods.
We must learn to address these voids differently.
It is necessary for you to learn to manage your feelings so you don’t fill these voids with food.
And the truth is, we experience emotions 50/50.
You will experience positive emotions half of the time, and negative emotions half of the time.
There is no point in your life that you won’t experience negative emotion.
And, this is actually great news!
This means there is nothing to fear about a feeling.
They only have the potential to affect you negatively when you let them.
It’s important that you learn to work with these negative emotions as it relates to food.
Since so much of why we eat the way we do, is based on our emotions.
Emotional eating has become an epidemic when it comes to eating healthy.
And it really doesn’t need to be whatsoever.
Most of us simply have no idea how to manage our feelings in such a way that they don’t determine our food choices.
In order to master the relationship between food and feelings, you will need to get good at one simple strategy:
Feeling your feelings.
You will have to learn to feel negative emotion without reacting to it or covering it up with food.
And while this sounds incredibly simple, it’s difficult at first.
How this goes is when you feel negative emotion, set a boundary where you commit to sitting in that emotion for 10-15 minutes.
This might look like you sitting in silence and observing how that feeling feels inside your body.
A feeling is simply a vibration in your body.
That’s it. There is no higher meaning to your emotions.
What makes this hard, is your negative feelings can feel like uncomfortable vibrations that you’re not accustomed to.
And, we’re not used to feeling negative emotion because we’re constantly covering up with entertainment, social media, or food.
We use false pleasures to avoid the uncomfortable vibrations we experience from negative emotion.
I want you to practice feeling negative emotion inside your body.
No judgement or resentment is allowed during this process!
You’re simply observing what you’re feeling.
And you might realize how little you’re willing to experience negative emotion when you do this.
The first time you engage in this practice, it will be hard.
To be honest, the first time I attempted this exercise I got emotional.
I came home feeling anxious after a long work day.
Normally, I would react by covering up this feeling with unhealthy foods.
Instead of reacting to the negative emotion through unhealthy eating, I committed to sitting with that feeling for some time.
After really feeling this anxiety, I realized that I didn’t even remember what it was like to truly experience that negative emotion.
By the end of this practice, I was happy I could experience this negative emotion in its raw form without reacting to it.
And it taught me that I didn’t have to let my negative emotions control my results with food.
On top of the fact that there is nothing to fear about negative emotion.
I want you to ask yourself, “what in life could I better accomplish if I were willing to feel my feelings?”.
How would your eating habits be different if you were willing to feel your feelings, instead of acting on them?
I can say for me personally, that my ability to feel my emotions fully has trickled into all areas of my life.
It may be difficult at first to process, but it gets easier.
And it’s beyond worth it.
Through this process, you develop a toughness where you’re willing to feel negative emotion in your life.
When you do this, there is no negative emotion that can disrupt your goals or eating habits.
The ultimate goal with this practice is to be able to separate your food and feelings.
So, you can intentionally create the eating habits that you want.
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified eating psychology coach for women who believes that eating healthy should feel simple and sustainable. I teach hundreds of high-performing women to change their eating habits without the overwhelm. Want to change your eating habits in a way that is aligned with your needs, preferences, and goals? You’re in the right place. You can read my full story here.