Have you seen the movie Inside Out? I just loved it. Such a creative perspective on emotions and the mind. It got me thinking about how many individuals I know who struggle with emotional eating. I want to highlight two points that were sparked from the film that relate to food and emotions.
1. We eat for joy…we eat for sadness…we eat for angst…we eat for anger… Many of us struggle with emotional eating, but we often cannot see that we are doing it. It is a skill to be mindful and present of our emotions. Ever since I saw the film, I keep picturing those characters when emotions come up. Last week, I was feeling pure anger, and I pictured that little red, stout guy as I wanted to scream out loud!! It helped! Still felt angry, but was comforting to be present…rather than running to a bar or ice cream shop and eating to quiet the anger.
So if we do feel something, what if we acknowledged the emotion rather than eating to feel it, or to not feel it? When we feel sad, say out loud “I feel sad” rather than eating some chocolate. Or if I was feeling angst, acknowledge it rather than drinking some wine. Or when you feel joy, smile big and embrace it, rather than eating your favorite food in celebration.
2. We feel joy…and sadness…and angst…and anger…all at the same time. Many of us want to feel joyful all the time. Live in a positive, happy, joyful space all day long. But, I am not sure that is realistic…or necessary. Fear, angst and sadness are real, healthy, appropriate emotions and we should feel comfortable allowing ourselves to feel them.
Often, if we feel anything other than joy, happiness and perfection, we eat our feelings. When things are not quite right, we eat. And trust me, I get it! I have had chocolate in many an emotional moment! But, for some of us, these emotional eating moments are far too frequent and are having a major impact on our mental and physical health. Can we let ourselves feel the angst, sadness, fear, anger or whatever else is going on…rather than eating it to cover it up?
Go see the movie…it will make you laugh out loud and think for days. And of course, you will feel a whole bunch too. And try not to bring popcorn, sweets or soda in with you…