The mere mention of food stirs our senses and elicits both memories and feelings. But what does it mean to eat your feelings? What is the distinction between having feelings about food and using food to manipulate your emotions?
S’mores. Popcorn. Grandma’s comfort foods. The smell of hot cookies coming out of the oven. Slumber parties. Thanksgiving with the whole family. Christmas cookies and pre-New Year’s splurges with gifts and food. The average American is raised with most, if not all, of these associations between food and “making memories.”
What would a birthday be without cake? Halloween without a month-long sugar-high? A broken heart without ice cream to glue the pieces back together? Without malintent, we grow up being taught that food and feelings are a natural pairing for the same plate.
Why, then, did no one consider asking, “What does it mean to eat your feelings?” And more importantly, why did no one ever broach an answer?
No matter how the world glamorizes food with pictures and words, its effect on your life always comes down to your thoughts about it.
You don’t “love” food — you love what you believe it does for you. You love the feeling of the neural connections made when you learned to associate food with comfort. You love the temporary fantasy of everything “being OK” if you can just get home from this lousy day and crawl into bed with your hidden stash of chocolate.
You love the idea that food will love you back — or at least make you feel loved.
And there’s the rub.
So much expectation being placed on something that has no ability to feel, no power to love.
Not only does emotional eating give your power away, it gives it away to something that remains at the mercy of your choices. It processes nothing, heals nothing, fills nothing. What’s empty isn’t your stomach, it’s your soul.
What does it mean to eat your feelings?
It means you are trying to make true the statement that “the way to a person’s heart is through his/her stomach.” It means you see your feelings and food on the same plate, and the only way to get rid of those feelings is to eat all your food…and then some. It means there is something so painful, so intolerable deep inside you that you will use food to annihilate it.
Consider some of the ways you may be eating your feelings:
What does it mean to eat your feelings? It means your soul is starving, and it is easier to feed your stomach than to find out what your soul needs. It means you are distracting from a pain you don’t trust yourself to face.
If you are eating your feelings, know that you have support available to help you face them. Food is here to support your body. We are here to support your soul. You can contact us here.