For 25 years my life centered around self-loathing, starvation, bingeing and purging.
Now fully recovered, I understand that bulimic bingeing and vomiting, like anorectic starvation, is a traumatic experience that can stimulate a deep survival mechanism; the release of endorphins, which are the powerful, natural drug like chemicals that allow us to experience pleasure. These established and deep-seated powerful compulsions that I was suffering with, felt seemingly helpless to fight. The sense of numbness I felt was an emotional band aid to block out all my uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Once this routine was established, it was difficult to imagine how I could possibly manage my uncomfortable emotions without this starve or binge/purge fix.
One way I helped myself recover was speaking my truth, and making myself sit with all my uncomfortable feelings and negative thoughts.
Essentially we need to feel feelings, no matter how simple, how negative, or how intense. When feelings are pushed down or un¬acknowledged, the body suffers. Feelings are necessary, and they need to be felt – all of them.
Emotional eating is not the actual problem – it’s a symptom that’s pointing to something deeper. Marc David states “it’s an alert mechanism from body wisdom that’s calling us to check in, and follow the flow of emotions within us to see where our soul is calling for more awareness and insight.”
We need to dive deep within ourselves internally to see the true cause of our emotional pain. So how do we effectively “dive deep” within ourselves? We start by recognizing triggers. A trigger is a reminder of a past trauma, and sets off an instantaneous emotional response within the body. Basically it gives us an emotional charge. When we experience a trigger, we will instantly feel extreme negative and uncomfortable emotion.
Instead of grabbing a packet of chocolate chip cookies, your gym bag, a cigarette or a glass of wine, try something different…
First, recognize your extreme emotional reactions are caused by a trigger. This will enable you to take a step back emotionally from the event and the reactivity the event is producing within us. You will be able to observe yourself in the moment.
Ask yourself how you feel. Let yourself feel the aspects of your experience that you’ve usually suppressed. Then ask yourself when you last had this exact same feeling. Visualize that fully with a 3D lens so that your emotional state becomes bright and real. Next work out when you very first had this same feeling in your life, in your childhood. Let images, feelings, sensations, smells, sounds come through.
Observe the memory and then mentally alter or completely change that memory in any way that feels emotionally positive. This allows us to take attention off the food. It allows us to step back and detach from our trigger, and instead work out how we are feeling so that we can recognize what deep unresolved past wound is unhealed within us.
There are healthier and more successful ways to deal with your difficult emotions. There is a better way to live. Cease un-opening your can of emotions, and instead open them, drain off the excess liquid and eat them raw!