Racing heart. Sweaty palms. Shaking knees. The feeling I am going to stumble over every word that comes out of my mouth. This was my physical state, as I drove to our Standing on Peace video shoot.
I opened my glove box, hoping to find a stashed away snack. As I focused on the road, my hand blindly moved around trying to identify objects that might be food. In all my rush to hand off the kids and dinner to my husband, whilst being prepared for our video shoot, I hadn’t had a chance to slow down, pray and ask God to calm my spirit. I was nervous and acting in my own strength. Bad combination for me.
My searching hand finally came across a crinkling package. Food! Let me be more specific. Sugar. In the form of red licorice. An entire movie theatre size package. I opened it up and started biting away. One piece. Then two. Three. Four. I resembled a wood chipping machine devouring branch after branch.
It wasn’t until I reached the last piece in the package when I came out of my eating trance.
What was I doing?
I was eating away my emotions.
Not a lot makes me more nervous than speaking in front of people. Being on camera might second that. My fears are an intertwining of tangled roots: fear of not being perfect, fear of not being able to speak the words I am thinking (If you are an internal processor, you know how I feel), fear of putting myself “out there”.
As I recognized why I had just consumed an entire package of licorice, I stopped my racing mind and prayed while I drove.
I thanked God for opening my eyes so quickly as to why I was emotionally eating. I thanked Him for His grace to start over – that these moments don’t have to send me down a path of unhealthy eating, food obsessions and guilt. I asked God to forgive me for acting in my own strength; for not trusting Him to give me the words to say. I asked for His peace. For His presence to be with all of us as we did our video. I asked for His blessing as I embarked on this writing journey.
Emotional eating is when we eat for reasons other than feeling hungry. It often brings a sense of comfort when we feel anxious, sad, depressed, and/or alone. It is an extremely common response to intense emotion. And it’s exactly what I was doing on the way to our video shoot.
Practicing “in the moment pauses” as you eat is a powerful tool when fighting these emotional battles.
Stop and Ask Yourself:
- “Why am I eating right now?”
- “Am I truly hungry or am I emotionally eating right now?”
These two questions can help you become aware of the roots of your food struggles. Roots could come from any number of aspects in your life, such as fear, perfectionism, relational hurts, disappointments, loss, isolation, where you are at with God, etc. Asking God to help you become aware of the roots of your struggle is a small act that can precipitate big realizations.
When do you find yourself emotionally eating? Will you consider praying for God to bring you awareness to your roots of emotional eating?
© 2012 Standing on Peace