Comfort food is a term used to describe anything that we reach for in times of stress or anxiety. We eat it because it reminds us of when were kids, often its food that our mother made for us; macaroni and cheese, ice cream sundaes, cakes, biscuits, anything that is a little bit naughty but feels sooo good! We know we shouldn’t eat it but we crave the comfort that the food brings.
I have a friend who is an alcoholic and he had been sober for the past two years, right up until he had a very stressful experience which drove him straight to the liquor store to grab a bottle. Now you might think that his situation is entirely different from your own.
The truth is a bit different though. Often we are triggered by an emotional situation right before we develop an overwhelming urge to eat a cupcake or buy a chocolate bar – we just don’t associate the emotional situation with the urge.
What’s your drug of choice?
You see we are all addicted to something; coffee, chocolate, alcohol, cake. In fact researchers are now saying that sugar is just as addictive, if not more so , than cocaine. Yes, you read that right sugar is more addictive than cocaine.
And just like any addict we reach for our drug of choice whenever our emotional buttons get pushed. We might not do it straight away but sometime over the next couple of hours our addiction will kick in and we will feel compelled to satisfy our craving.. This is why we don’t connect it to the argument we had with our boss or the fight we had with our spouse or the way that we yelled at the kids.
I have another friend who is gluten intolerant, whenever she eats it she feels terrible; her body aches, she starts yawning and wanting to sleep and her nose runs so you think she would avoid it like the plague… but she doesn’t. Sure she can go days or even weeks without eating any, she will only buy gluten free options when she is doing the shopping and everything is fine. Then something will push her buttons and she will give in to temptation and have a cupcake or other non gluten free treat and then she will feel like crap and berate herself for her lack of willpower. The truth is it has nothing to do with willpower and everything to do with how she was feeling on an emotional level.
When any of us give in to our craving for something that we know we shouldn’t be eating or drinking, what we are trying to achieve is to quiet down the emotional storm that is raging inside us. It might be raging away deep, deep down, so deep that we are not even consciously aware of it, but it will be there.
Self-sabotage is misguided self-love
I listened to a webinar recently and the person being interviewed made the statement that self-sabotage is misguided self-love. We are trying to keep ourselves safe and the means we do that (like eating gluten when you know it is not good for you, or drinking alcohol when you are an alcoholic) might seem crazy to someone on the outside but at the time they make perfect sense to us,
The trouble is when we sedate our emotions we are numbing out part of ourselves and life starts to become a bland, beige kind of world. Our emotions are signposts to what is going on deep inside us and by tuning them out we miss the messages and the lessons that they have for us.
How do we know if we are sedating an emotion? How can we avoid it?
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