One of the ironies of healing our emotional eating is that consciously trying to eat differently like not eating sugar or eating more mindfully is overarousing. It’s stimulating and can cause anxiety.
We have all this pent up energy from trying to be “good” while feeling terrified of slipping. It’s like walking a tightrope. It can then lead to overeating because we’re trying to soothe ourselves from all this pent up, excess energy and anxiety.
To compound the challenge, many of us who struggle with food are also sensitive we’re hypersensitive to energy and feelings, period. (Get indepth help with sensitivity and food in session 7 of Untangled.)
It’s important to soothe and care for ourselves. Soothing gives us an inner sanctuary, a place of refuge and strength whereby we don’t have to seek external sanctuary in food. It’s what enables us to unplug from emotional or overeating. It also helps us trust in our ability to care for ourselves.
Many of us who overeat never learned how to give ourselves this deep, inner soothing (and it’s not exactly taught in our culture, either!) It’s why we keep seeking food – it’s what works and gives us the soothing we desire, even if we pay a high price for it. Soothing ourselves with food is not a character flaw; just a coping mechanism.
Instead, try letting the energy move, shift and ebb. Not with cookies or a plate of food but with true solace. I call this movement flowing, one of the 6 practices of growing human(kind)ness.
Frankly, when it’s super intense for me, I cry. What a fabulous release! I also go for bike rides, walks, swing on a swing (nice for summer months on a porch swing), rock in a rocking chair, listen to music, go for a drive, take a shower, dance, do yoga, sit by the river anything that connotes movement. Meditation – sitting with my heart and offering myself solace – is also incredibly soothing.
We rock babies. We swaddle and soothe and rock a fussy child. We sing a child to sleep. Imagine a tree, blowing in the wind. This is the metaphor to use in your life blowing, flowing, moving with the energy.