If you’ve never heard this phrase before, it simply refers to any situation when you’ve eaten something (usually fat-, carb-, and sugar-heavy) purely out of emotion like sadness, disappointment, and anger. It’s what drives us to dive head-first into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s after a break-up or find solace at the bottom of a wine bottle after a rough day at work.
Instead of dealing with these negative feelings head-on, we tend to try to numb them with food or alcohol and hope they magically go away. Logically, we know this is not the best tactic, but since when have we humans ever been completely rational?!
I remind myself that though whatever food or adult beverage I’m about to imbibe will no doubt taste delicious in the moment, it will only make me feel “better” for about a minute. And probably worse later. Guilt and shame on top of the original negative emotions… well, I probably don’t have to tell you how awful that feels.
So I found myself in that familiar position a few nights ago. I’ve been struggling a lot lately with some personal issues, and this unrelenting winter weather and lack of sunlight have only compounded the emotional roller coaster I’ve been on.
Two frozen (uncooked :-O) chocolate chip cookies, 3 squares of chocolate, a few ounces of Fire Ball whiskey, half a box of animal crackers, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a handful of pretzels, a red velvet Oreo cookie, and a serving or two of pineapple sherbet later, I was no closer to feeling any better. Shocker, I know.
The few times that I do say “eff it” I am able to resist going off the deep end completely. Before, the list above would have been longer and/or with larger portion sizes. It would have been a mindless pursuit. I would have felt powerless to stop eating once I started and disgusted with myself for giving in so easily and undoing all of my hard work.
Now, however, I can show myself some compassion and move on from the experience sans guilt but with greater clarity.
It has taken a long time to get here, though. And I give a lot of credit to my current business and mindset coach, Jill Coleman of JillFit Physiques. I’ve been a regular reader of her blog and email newsletter for a few years now, and slowly but surely her message of self-compassion, leaning into struggle, and doing away with guilt and shame has sunk into my subconscious.
I have learned that beating myself up does nothing to motivate me to do things better next time. Mistakes and missteps are inevitable and can teach valuable lessons if we do the work of introspection instead of looking outside of ourselves for comfort.
As the other night has shown me, I am not perfect when it comes to this practice. I still have to fight the urge to self-destruct when things don’t go my way. I still screw up sometimes. I still do things that do not serve me.
But I have made so much progress in the meantime. My mindset is getting to a good place. And I am more willing to face my emotions instead of running from them or stuffing them down deep inside.
It’s not easy or comfortable, but I know that nothing will change unless I do.
Can you relate? I'd like to hear from you. Head on over to my Facebook page and let me know if you've ever experienced something similar and how you moved past it.