Using Food as a Coping Mechanism

I do this.

Food is my go to friend when I am in need. Its there to celebrate with me, commiserate with me. To warm me up. To keep me calm. It’s there when I need it no questions asked.

However this is part of the lifestyle I want to live.

I want to enjoy food and use it to keep me fuelled, but I don’t want to use it as a coping mechanism.

Breaking this habit and the many associations that go with it is going to be very hard.

I need to use the information from the lifestyle course I am on to make a list of things to do (instead of eating) when I feel emotions that I associate with eating.

This is about taking action and living the lifestyle I want to live, rather than waiting for me to be done with emotional eating then live. I will never get rid of emotional eating. Everyone does it to different degrees. I just want to stop it being my go to action.

Last night I pretty much ate a whole cake. I started eating it because I was hungry, but I bought it in secret. I kept it a secret and so I ate it in secret and ended up eating pretty much all of it to hide the evidence. I knew when I put it in my basket what would happen, but the voice inside my head told me I could make that decision later. However for me the decision is made in the shop. I know this. I’ve known that forever and am just in denial that I can make the decision later. Sometimes I can stop and throw away a whole cake after one slice, but it is a rare. It is also stressful. Accepting that I am going to eat it is less stressful even though I know I shouldn’t. Even less stressful is not buying it in the first place.

When I am feeling emotional – lonely, sad, happy – my first thought is going to the shop. This is where I need to take alternative action. It’s easy to say now, but I know its hard to do in the moment when through feelings and associated thoughts hit. It is easier to follow the thoughts. It’s like doing as you’re told.

So I want to rebel!

I am awful at rebelling. I’m not a people pleaser, but I don’t like conflict. If a subject comes up that I don’t agree with I often keep quiet than risk conflict. Although I will stand up if I think someone is being out of line – bullying is not acceptable! In work I like to get things done correctly first time. In school I was the same. I am much better at asking for help than I was though, much better 🙂

But rebelling against myself is probably the hardest thing for me to do.

I think this is a big part of my depression, probably the biggest. I am constantly at war with myself in my head. Having so much conflict in my head is exhausting and doesn’t get me to where I want to.

I ha d break before carrying on writing this and was surfing the net not really sure what I was looking for and went back to Medicinal Marzipan, which I found a few years ago and have enjoyed reading, but never really thought it related to me. Now it really does and probably always has.

It was this wording that got me  – “self-inflicted abuse” – I am totally abusing myself. Mentally in the way I beat myself up and physically the way I eat. I have never thought about it this way before. I knew what i am doing wasn’t healthy, but abuse is a strong word, which I never thought would apply to me. I won’t let other people abuse me, so why do I let myself do it to myself?

I can’t answer that right now, but I am interested in working it out. I imagine it could take a while. So in the meantime I am going to work on ways to nourish my mind and body and stop punishing myself.

I want to be grateful for the body and mind I have. They are amazing and support me through life. I wouldn’t want to change them for a new version, but I can work to restore what I have so they will continue to support me into the future.

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2 thoughts on “Using Food as a Coping Mechanism

  1. Hi Angie! I just wanted to hop over and thank you so very, very much for including me in this phenomenal post. What you’ve written here very much resonates with me. Yes, abuse is a very strong word, and it is strange to apply it to food, as for so many of us, we grew up under the impression that food was a way to nurture and love ourselves. Once I read somewhere that once we were satisfied, either we wasted food in the trash can or on our bodies, and it really hit home for me that I had been eating for all of the wrong reasons – because I didn’t want to say no, because I felt badly that I’d paid so much for something, because I thought it would make me feel better. It never made me feel better, and, often, it was the impetus for future eating out of feeling sad and frustrated about how disconnected my relationship with my body felt. I want to wish you the best of luck + let you know that I’m here if you need me. xoM

    1. Thanks Mara! I think we have to be in the right place to it for what it is. I’m looking forward to your book as I’m loving the body loving homework posts you did. I think so much about what other people think and see I forget to check in and see how I really feel. I’m doing meditation too which I love. It’s hard sometimes but I’m feeling the benefits of the long term.

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