Emotional Eating: The Connection to Hating Your Body
Many people go through life body shaming themselves because they are a few pounds or several pounds overweight. They do not match the definition of “pretty” the way society defines it, or they are not where they were ten years ago.
All of these things can play significant factors in the way we see ourselves and, in turn, how we deal with them. The most common way people deal with their self-image is ironic, binge eating. Binge eating temporarily takes away the pain and hurt of how we are feeling.
Humans have been conditioned from infancy to respond to discomfort or feelings of pain through food. When babies cry, they are giving a bottle of milk, and they are happy again. When a child falls and scrapes their knee, their mom gives them ice cream or a lollipop.
These are just a couple of reasons why, from an early age, people have learned that when you are feeling down or sad, food can make you feel better. This leads some adult brains to become cross-wired, and we eat in response to any discomfort that we may be feeling. Food becomes the soother of all emotional and physical pain and is also a perfect distraction from body shaming.
Self-Compassion to Break the Cycle
Self-Compassion can break you out of the cycle of body shaming, which leads to emotional eating. We have been taught to be hard on ourselves, which will help us achieve our goals. We tell ourselves that “starvation and deprecation is the only way to get through this,” which does not. Self-criticism fuels the vicious cycle of overeating and negative body image.
When you are operating from a place of love and compassion, you will treat yourself well. Treat yourself well and not go on that stringent diet that promises you will lose 14 pounds in two weeks (strict diets lead to overeating).
Give your body the nourishment that it needs but do not overdo it. It is ok to say no to yourself and your body. You will feel better about the pounds that you have lost by being kind to yourself rather than depriving yourself and reverting to old ways when you do not see the results that were advertised or personal expectations.
Self-Kindness Rather than Self-Judgment
Treat yourself like you would treat a close friend or a family member. Chances are, you would never try to body shame a friend or family member, so why do it to yourself? Love yourself for who you are and not what you look. Work toward bettering yourself for the right reasons and not just because you want to look like the models in a magazine.
Common Humanity Rather than Isolation
Everyone feels negative about their bodies at one point or another, whether they want to admit it. Thinking that you are the only one in this situation, and no one could understand what you are feeling is isolating. You must first recognize that this type of suffering is just part of being human.
Everyone has something that they do not like about themselves, but you should never isolate yourself. It will only lead to more issues and more binge eating to make you feel better temporarily.
Mindfulness Rather than Over-Identification
Be aware of when you are body shaming yourself and when you want to use food to get you out of the emotional rut. Work yourself away from the binge eating of sugary, fried, or greasy foods, and mindfully eat healthier food choices such as vegetables and fruits. Eating mindfully will promote healthy eating and good health. It will even help to help you lose weight without even noticing you are doing so.
Numbers are not Everything
No matter what the numbers on the scale show, you are beautiful in every way. Yes, there could be things that you would want to work on to make yourself healthier and feel better; however, you are still beautiful no matter what. Numbers on the scale or the number on the pair of jeans you are wearing do not make you less attractive and worthless.
You need to walk with your head held high and with all the confidence in the world. When you are comfortable with yourself in your skin (even if you do not look like a poster girl), those around you will see you for who you are and not the flaws you think you have.