A client came in last week saying she and her husband had a big fight a few weeks before. After hearing the details, I asked if her food choices had been affected by the anger she felt towards her husband. Somewhat disappointed in herself she said “yes and it didn’t make anything better.”
Why do we think feeding our sorrow will be helpful?
We’ve all done it so many times before with the same result- shame and guilt that we knew better, and yet behaved in a way that made us feel worse about ourselves AND didn’t do anything to mend the real issue.
Not only doesn’t the food make anything better, you probably feel worse physically after eating the so called comfort food–sugar high and crash, and the too-full bloated feeling.
It helps to remind yourself that your body feels worse after eating comfort food (not just your guilty mind) than it did while you were eating it.
Learning to self soothe without food is crucial for long term weight loss. Some options might have been:
- Acknowledging it’s human to have disagreements, and try to focus on
all of the things she’s grateful for in her relationship, and in her
- Noticing her feelings and reminding herself she’s felt this way
before and gotten beyond it;
- Calling a friend to talk;
- Going for a walk;
- Watching a movie to distract;
- Making a repair effort with her husband (ie “I’m sorry we fought- want to play cards?) even if she thought he was wrong-just because it feels better to be connected than not.
Ellen is a psychotherapist in private practice in San Francisco and Redwood City, California. She specializes in Cognitive Behavioral
Therapy and incorporates the use of mindfulness into the treatment of depression, anxiety, and emotional overeating. She runs a holistic weight loss program called Center for Thoughtful Weight Loss, www.thoughtfulweightloss.com. You can email Ellen at firstname.lastname@example.org