What unmet need is food fulfilling for you?

Updated: Sep 28


I often ask my Food & Freedom clients when they come to see me, what foods are fulfilling any unmet needs. It is usually those foods we reach for the most. During our time together we investigate what those needs might be. It could be needing a feeling of safety, or wanting to celebrate a success, it could be to numb out feelings of stress, frustration or overwhelm or it may be giving you a sense of connection. When we understand what the real need is, it can take some of the strength away from the drive or desire to obtain the food. We can also begin to get a better understanding of what other tools we can use to help us cope with our emotions, such as going for a walk, doing a short and simple breathing exercise, writing in a journal, doodling or drawing, phoning a friend, doing a meditation or a yoga class, or reading a book.


Rather than taking away food completely as a tool to help manage emotions, we can keep it there as a tool, as long as it's not the only one and not the one used mostly. This is when it can create problems as it did for myself. Having a broad range of options available to you can help you feel more resilient and most importantly, it allows you to drop 'control'. Often with emotional eating comes guilt and shame afterwards, and a lot of negative self-talk. We can then easily move into control mode and start to restrict, such as going on diets repeatedly. This is when we can start to get into tricky territory, and we can even begin to lay the foundations for an eating disorder, which is what happened to me.


To find freedom with food we need to understand why we are reaching for certain foods in the first place, and in order to do that we need to use mindfulness and a big dollop of compassion and a sprinkle of self-inquiry, to start to understand what is going on. Then we can start to see that our wellbeing self-care practices can include the food we eat, and how we eat it, something else I realised is a big part of our relationship with food, our attitude to eating it. More on that in another blog.


In the meantime I would recommend finding some quiet time, writing down your go to emotional eating foods, and seeing if there is a pattern to what happens before you reach for the food item, in terms of your thinking, breathing, situational circumstances, triggers etc and see what you might be wanting instead of the food. Let me know how you get on.


Wishing you well on your journey to having freedom with food.


With warm wishes,

Carla





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