One of the ironies of healing our emotional eating is that consciously trying to eat differently 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.
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.
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.
I happened on your site and love it! I really like your broad and deep approach, Karly! Some of us need a hand and some insight to help us along the journey. You seem to understand at a marvelous level. I look forward to reading more of your articles! It's wonderful how they link from topic to topic.
Keep up the good work!
Welcome, Cheryl – I'm so glad you found us here. Thank you for your kind words.
My understanding comes from years of experience of being caught in food suffering…it's been my greatest challenge, and greatest teacher.
I look forward to getting to know you.
In love, Karly
I think I'm going to let myself cry when I need to. And I'm going to remember to integrate walks, swinging on a swing, listening to music, taking a shower, dancing, yoga, sitting by a river, and/or meditation. Great suggestions!!! So thankful for you, dear Karly!