Yesterday I gave away a book and a workbook that had helped me through my disordered eating phase two and a half years ago. How to deal with emotional eating is not easy. I still eat for emotional reasons, make no mistake, but I’ve become more conscious about it. And I stopped shaming myself for it as well as obsessing about how it affects my appearance.

Today, it’s like the Universe is testing me. “Oh, you gave away the books, huh? Do you think you’ve healed? Let’s put it to the test!”

I’m in the luteal phase of my cycle, the approximately 14 days before menstruation, when I take the no-bullshit-clean-the-toilet-don’t-touch-me-until-I-touch-you-do-lots-of-things-at-the-same-time-without-actually-being-able-to-focus lane. And somewhere on that lane, there’s the inevitable comfort food pit stop.

I’m okay with that. I accept it and I indulge. But I try to wait until I’m hungry to satisfy my cravings, so at least I won’t have too big of a tummy ache afterwards. Besides, food tastes much better when you’re hungry.

Sometimes it’s hard to wait, though. To stay conscious of what’s going on in your mind and body.

1. Don’t keep snacks at home

Lucky for me, I didn’t have anything to snack on at home. Plus, I had been sitting around all day, so I decided to go for a walk and kill three birds with one stone: move, breathe fresh air and stock up on sweet & salty treats (’cause I need both).

2. Feel your feelings

During the first lockdown, I made a playlist with my aggression-transmuting music (think Pantera, Sepultura, Linkin Park) and when being indoors got unbearable, I put my headphones on and walked around the neighbourhood. Life changing!

3. Change the environment & postpone indulging

And that’s what I did today: I went out and took the longest possible route to the supermarket while listening to my “Walk!” playlist. Waiting at a stoplight, I remembered one advice from the book I had given away: postpone emotional eating as long as possible. I had totally forgotten about that.

4. Acknowledge your triggers

When I came home one hour later, I felt much better. Less tense, less impatient. Seeing that my craving could wait a little longer, I decided to sit down and write about it. I know by now that emotional eating is a way to process emotions, so I asked myself what emotions might be troubling me.

  • The first thing that came to mind was the fact that yesterday I talked to a friend about my family and my mother’s death, recalling it in detail. I’m sure that triggered some things I didn’t allow myself to feel while I was talking. Moreover, she took her life before Christmas, so this time of the year will always be a trigger for my subconscious.
  • Then there’s the fact that I’ve been feeling trapped lately, that I’m craving nature, sea, sun, and warmth…
  • I’ve also been missing my friends, my trips to Budapest, Thai massage, parties. Oh, how I miss a good metal party. Or any party for that matter. Just take me to a club with extremely loud music and dim lights!

All of these things caused sadness, frustration, anger. Emotions to be released one way or another.

Right now I’m proud of myself for having been able to use the tools I’ve gathered over the past few years in order to deal with emotional eating in a healthier way:

  • I changed the environment by going outside.
  • I allowed emotions to surface by listening to music that triggers them.
  • I moved my body and let them flow through me.
  • I named, acknowledged, and shared them in my writing.

By the time I was done with all that, I felt hungry and ate the snacks for dinner. And that’s a win in my world!

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