I just ate emotionally. Just now. Well, by the time I post this it will be a Sunday and I’m writing on a Tuesday night, but you get the point.
I’d been feeling emotional and sad and frustrated and insecure all day. Nothing is majorly wrong in my life, but I just couldn’t seem to shake the feelings. I’d talked to my fiancé about it, journaled about it, walked, done yoga, and “let it be” — moving onto other life stuff.
And then I found myself eating emotionally.
I hadn’t planned to do it. Because of all the feelings, I hadn’t had much of an appetite all day. I even skipped dinner because I just didn’t seem to be hungry. Then, late at night while Gil was playing guitar, I found myself wanting some chocolate.
So I had some chocolate truffles. And then some chips. Then some more chips.
By this point, I knew I wasn’t feeling so good (chocolate + chips does not a feel-good dinner make). I thought about eating something with actual nutrition. I considered just leaving the kitchen.
But in the end, I decided to keep eating. As I was sitting at the table, digging a big spoonful from a chocolaty, cookie dough-y, Ben and Jerry’s pint (The Tonight Dough, if you’re curious), I was very aware that I wasn’t hungry.
And yet, I thought to myself, Wow, eating emotionally feels really good right now.
Several hours later, as I write this to you, I don’t regret it. Even though I feel a little uncomfortable and overly full, I don’t feel like it was a terrible thing — it did help me feel a bit better in the moment. I don’t want to do that every single time I feel a negative emotion, but I don't do it every time I feel a negative emotion. And by acknowledging it and not fighting it, I didn’t continue to eat emotionally out of panic and denial.
It happened. Now it’s over. It’s not a huge deal.
The goal isn’t to be “perfect.” The goal is to be a real, messy human being with a range of coping mechanisms.
In fact, we can sometimes choose to eat emotionally. We aren’t killing anyone by eating ice cream to feel better — we’re exercising our right as adults to take care of ourselves in whatever way we choose.
I wanted you to know this, in case you ever feel badly about eating emotionally or to numb out a little: it’s cool, I do it too sometimes.