3 Beliefs That Fuel Emotional Eating and How to Counter ThemBy Alana Kessler
Eating is one of the most natural things in the world. We need to eat to live—and to live well. But as essential as eating is to our very existence, our relationship to food is tied to our emotions and state of mind. Socioeconomic demographics, generational values, family, and culture can be huge influences on the way we relate to food as adults.
It's important to note that eating as an adult is very different than eating as a young child. As a child, food is typically very structured—three meals and three snacks per day. This structure ensures the energy of the child is balanced. Additionally, most children don’t have much control or choice around food—they don't get to decide when or what to eat, nor are they mature enough to understand the why behind their food choices.
Why is this important? Because so often in my coaching practice, I see full-grown adults struggling with their relationship with food and they don't know why. Their lives have been hijacked by anxiety, fear, shame, and guilt.
I am here to crack that code for you. Consider the following beliefs about food, often ingrained in childhood, and how they might be impacting your relationship with food today.
Belief #1: You Have to Eat on a Schedule
Organizing an eating schedule around breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks like we did as kids creates a rigidity that, as adults, we cannot often abide by. Spontaneous work and family obligations, travel, and other joyful life events cannot coexist with a rigid food schedule. We must grow the inner child to trust in the fluidity of being an adult.
We do this by learning to eat more intuitively. This means being in touch with hunger cues and being prepared when the time arrives. It also means understanding what your body needs. It’s taking back the When and What. This is the agency adults have.
Belief #2: You Have to be a Member of the Clean Plate Club
This is another belief we picked up as children. Remember when your caregiver told you to finish everything on your plate because food is expensive and there won’t be anything else to eat if you don’t? This belief is one of the root causes of compulsive eating, and directly disconnects us from the part of ourselves that has trust in the goodness of the world. Preserving this innocence is key to the developm