Honor Your Feelings: Intuitive Eating for the Holidays and Life

Another hard principle is Honoring Your Feelings without using food.

As humans, food is very intertwined with our emotions. You connect with someone over a cup of coffee, celebrate with a nice dinner, birthday cake, it’s all around us. But when we start using food instead of handling our emotions, we can interfere with our coping abilities. How many of us have felt guilty about eating something? Guilt is an emotion. Guilt has no place when it comes to your emotions around food. We can eat because of any number of emotions such as to comfort, to distract, to punish. We eat out of boredom, procrastination, as a bribe or reward (you can get dessert if you eat your veggies), excitement, to sooth, out of frustration, anger, stress, anxiety, depression, or to feel connected with others.

To overcome this, ask yourself are you biologically hungry? If yes, eat!

What are you feeling? Take some time to identify the emotions you are feeling. Write, call a friend, sit and experience your feelings, talk with a counselor, or record yourself talking. Understand the emotion behind the drive to eat.

What do I need? We eat to fill an unmet need, is it connection, is it control, do you need rest? What need is not being met.

If you can’t figure that out, what would you ask someone if you asked the question “would you please…?” maybe you need help cleaning the house, maybe you need some “me-time”, maybe you need a hug.

Find other ways to meet your needs. This can include any number of things such as taking a nap, talking to feel understood or heard, talking to a friend, taking a bath, ”me-time”, getting a haircut, writing about your feelings, letting yourself cry, take your anger out on your pillow, read a good book, go to the movies, drive around, clean your closet, do a jigsaw puzzle.

When you use food emotionally, it is not serving you. It is doing you a disservice. It is not letting you feel your feelings fully, some people after finding new ways to cope notice stronger feelings because they aren’t using food to numb themselves. Food no longer has that power over their emotions, it is no longer important.

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