Binge Eating · Make It Happen March

Stop and Feel – Emotional Eating

Make it Happen March.  I have seen this everywhere on blogs and Facebook today.  I decided to embrace that myself.  So I am going to make things happen in March.  The first thing I am going to tackle is my emotional eating.  Not just talk about it, but talk about it and do something about it at the same time.  So I pulled out my book from the binge eating group I attended a few years back called The Food and Feelings Workbook by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed.

I reached page 23 in the book in the last three years.  I did the first few exercises and the “Food & Feelings Pre-Assesment”.  In the Pre-Assesment I circled a 10 (scale 1 to 10) on questions that note I acknowledge that these changes won’t happen overnight and I may need help from a support group and/or a therapist.  I do understand those things clearly, but I think I am afraid.  Whenever I sat in a therapists office and anything regarding emotions I wasn’t ready to discuss came up, I no longer made time to see that therapist.  Or suddenly money was an issue.  With the support group, I was always using the excuse that it was too far and at a bad time of day (both were true: 30 min drive and at 10am on a Monday). But if it was that inconvenient how was I able to make it to the groups until it was time to share a project I had not even attempted because it dove too far into emotions I wasn’t willing to face.

It’s time for me to stop running.  Time to sit down and sort through all these different feelings and emotions I am afraid to look at.  Right now, I recognize that I need to get back to a therapist, however I don’t have the time each week available to dedicate to seeing one, which is truly necessary in getting everything I need from a therapist.  I will make that a goal for the future.  For now, this blog will be my therapist.  Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings here as well.  But keep it positive and/or constructive.  Negativity is what got me and many of us to the places we are at in our lives.  Negativity isn’t about to help one bit.  But I do recognize that sometimes others could see something in what I have written differently than I have seen it.  I don’t mind hearing different opinions, I rather encourage them.

Here we go.

What is the purpose of MY feelings?

Yup, those feelings that bubble up now and then actually serve a purpose.  I have rarely taken the time in my life to think about what is causing different feelings I have shoved back down into my emotional cave.  The feelings well up, quite quickly at times, and I immediately try to ignore what’s happening and move onto something else so I don’t have to endure whatever it is that I may feel.  But there is a reason I was feeling something in that moment.

According to The Food and Feelings Workbook, “if we all have the capacity to feel, then feelings are neither accidental nor incidental and must have an evolutionary purpose.”  Our feeling are what help us make good decisions, and let us know what will make us happy and alarm us to what may harm us.

I followed along with the “Stop and Feel” exercise in the book.  I sat quietly and was relaxed and asked myself this question, “Are there any emotions I am trying to push away right now?” Then I wrote down this sentence that best described what I was feeling:

  I am feeling frustrated with myself and disappointed in where I am at in my journey and my life.  There is also this undercurrent of hate.  But I don’t know where that hate is directed.

Dude.  My heart was racing.  It started up again just from retyping this sentence.  There is something in that.  I don’t know why I can’t recognize where that anger is coming from.  It scares me.  I need to let that anger go, but I need to find out why I am so angry.  There is a reason.  My anger isn’t pointless.  After revisiting those feelings I am deciding to ask the same question, but focus on the positive.  I want to think about those things I am grateful for in my life.  I asked myself the same question and this is what I came up with:

I am feeling grateful for the love in my heart for my beautiful and healthy daughters.  I love and appreciate my husband, who loves me unconditionally.  I feel satisfied that I am able to provide for my family financially.  I am grateful for my friends and family who are supportive of me in all that I do. I feel thankful and loved.

That exercise put a smile on my face.  But during that exercise two things came up.  Two things that I am right now fighting back tears on.  Dammit.  The whole point of this is to let these feelings out so I can see what they are.  Understand what they mean.

Why did his face pop up when I was writing about being thankful for family and friends?  I don’t want to waste my time or my freakin’ emotions thinking about him.  He’s doesn’t even deserve these sentences on my blog, but I am going to have to face the anger and resentment I have against my father one day.

I know why my grandmother came up.  I miss her with every ounce of my heart.  I wish she was here right now.  I wish she could have met my husband and Zoe.  I wish she could have seen Riley grow up into the amazing young lady she is today.  But she’s not here.  Fucking cancer.  She was honestly the bestest friend, grandmother, mom anyone could have in their lives.  My friends all embraced her as their own grandma.  She was one of a kind.  Gah.  It hurts, and it’s been almost 12 years.

Me and Grandma snuggling.  Her favorite thing to do was snuggle her grandkids.
Me and Grandma snuggling. Her favorite thing to do was snuggle her grandkids.

Well, the “Stop and Feel” exercise certainly did as advertised.  I felt something.  I let the emotions out.  A lot of them, and I am still here.  Nothing catastrophic came from feeling.  The next step for tonight is to keep those feelings in mind when I inevitably find myself in the kitchen.  I am not hungry.  My senses want to be dulled, and since alcohol and drugs are out, my brain wants food.  Not tonight brain!  We are growing stronger, and tonight we will just embrace these feelings, however painful they may be.



9 thoughts on “Stop and Feel – Emotional Eating

  1. Gina, focusing on the positive is so much healthier. Waking up and being and living day as thankful will change your life around.

    Taking responsibilty for oneself in a relationship, and the outcome it produces can be a challenge (talking about your relationship with your father), be prepared to face yourself as well as your dad. I’m not on any level saying it is, but facing yourself here could be what’s holding you back from dealing with that anger and resentment.

    So proud of you for sharing your story and giving us motivation to deal with our issues and get healthy mentally, emtionally and physically as well.

    1. It felt good when I took control and focused on the positive. That creep of a dad I have snuck in, but hell, I will face that crap soon enough. I always tell myself I don’t care about him, but it’s obvious I do.

      Thank you for your support Sharon. It means the world to me. Pssst…you are always welcome to swing by if you are in my hood. 😉

  2. One step at a time, and go only as fast as you feel safe to go, and heck, if you want to take off running…you go. Trust yourself, I trust you.

    Sometimes, people stop therapy, and then go back for awhile, with a new and fresh perspective……annnnd…they go back when THEY are ready. Nothing wrong with taking charge of ones own life, and deciding when one wants counsel and when one doesn’t…Bravo for you…running away (if that is what it is) may be part of your journey, so, you run…But this is not a race, you get to run and stop when YOU decide.

    Taking charge of ones life, awareness, and being in the moment…sounds like you are doing great things for yourself…Healing takes time, and deciding what you hold on to and what you are ready to let go of is YOUR choice, in YOUR time.

    Now, back to forgiving one’s self when one is LESS then PERFECT! Where does that come from? Whose voice is that, that one hears, in ones head? Is it their own, is it a memory of another’s voice echoing over and over and over again, or maybe a false perception of some sort, or just unforgiveness to self?

    I love your blog, because it is a reflection of you, and you are strong, intelligent, beautiful both inside and out….and you inspire me and others too.

    I love you,
    Aunt Lena

    At first, after reading your blog post Gina, I wasn’t going to post a comment, because you really do have a good hand on what you are doing for yourself. I believe that in some way, commenting on your inspiring posts, helps me reflect on some of my own stuff a bit too, thank you….Beautiful photo of you and your grandmother.

    1. Sometimes when I reply to others I do reflect on my own stuff. So, I am sure you are getting something from it. I hope you are. I am here to learn about myself but to also share with others and help them discover some things for themselves.

      I understand healing takes time. I have a lot of healing to get through. I think I am healthy enough today to begin to face the emotions and pain I have built up.

  3. I am an emotional eater and I have a good idea why. I’ve been working on not eating at night. It’s not been easy. Maybe I’ll get that emotional workbook. For me, the therapy I did was a complete waste of money.

    1. Night time eating is a hard habit to break. I had it beat until I started feeling a little down again, and then that habit came right back. I caught on early and am being very cognizant of it when I find myself in the kitchen after 9pm.

      Like I said, I had not read past page 23 in the last few years, but I am committed to getting through it this time. I feel like I learned so much in this first exercise. I think other people could gain some of the same.

  4. A friend at work today told me I never share anything with her and that I must not consider her a friend. Honestly, I share a lot with her, I just don’t share things that could make me appear frail or weak. I don’t know if I am quite ready for being this raw when I am with people, but I do feel like I have taken a step forward.

    I have you to thank as well. You show me that it is ok to have emotions and break down. I am meant to feel the emotions I have day to day. It’s ok to be human.

  5. Aww, Jimbo.. It breaks my heart that you have such pain over your (um, nutbag) of a dad. But, duh … of course you do! I feel you, my friend … as do (I’m sure) all of your friends out there who also have a disturbed person with whom they share DNA. It makes sense that it’s also wrapped up in the loss of your grandma. She saved you, love. Sorry – She “took and” saved you. She was a caring, generous mom … and she spoiled you rotten! Truly. With Grandma, it mattered less about the “man” your “dad” is (those are condescending quotes) because you had her to take care of you. She was your confidant, your caregiver, your friend. Now, even 12 years later, you miss her – and you need her. Of course. You’re angry. Yeah. I’m angry. It’s not fair that someone as wonderful and beautiful as you should be weighed down by such pain. Work through it and try to do right by Grandma. The greatest gift you could give her is taking all she gave you and showering that on your girls. She loved our Riley so very, very much and she would be so proud to see our sweet munchkin in all her teen glory. Hug her and love her … and keep your grandma’s memory alive.

    Cry. Put down the doughnut. Do yoga. Let Paul love you. Laugh with your girls. Heal.

    I love you, Jimbo. No one is perfect or expects you to be.

    (ha! analyze that my friend)

  6. I’m new to your blog, but I really was inspired by this post. I’m in the middle of reading The Gifts of Imperfection and I feel like it deals with some of the stuff you are processing. Two of the premises of the book is to live wholeheartedly and in order to do that we have to own our own stories. You totally owned your story in this post! I loved it.

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