How I Saved Myself – A Personal Journey Through Emotional Eating
By Joanne Beccarelli
Emotional eating is what led me to be 150 pounds overweight.
I was always a little prone to chubbiness, but not obesity and I was raised and bred with the Italian philosophy and family theme that “food is love.” It was exactly this, love and food separately but always together, that led me down the path to helplessness, shame, hiding and morbid obesity!
Now, ironically, it is still love and food that supports me as I journey to be the person I want to be, learning with each step and sharing my a-ha lessons with anyone out there who needs them.
Somehow, somewhere along the way, food became my best friend whenever something went wrong, went right, was blah, or even euphoric.
Sure, I blamed my upbringing, my heritage, my genes, my lack of time, my responsibilities, my situation and best of all, my mother! She was a great cook and always had an emotional relationship with food too, but what really happened was a combination of pure emotional eating and hormone triggers from some of those emotions that made fighting back futile.
You bet that I ate for hunger three times a day, but I also ate for a pick-me-up, boredom, loneliness, needing love – “hallelujah, I have some time alone,” “let’s get together for some fun,” and “let me shower some love on YOU,” etc. You get the idea.
I was in a cocoon of constant emotional intensity and that is what exacerbated my food relationship and kept the stress hormone cortisol at a steady, elevated state, which led me to DOOM!
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Journeying back to the ‘me’ that felt lost, or better yet, forward to the NEW me I wanted to become is where I found surprises that I hope might help you on your path.
I started with nutrition, cleansing, detoxing and resetting. Call it any and all of those things. Having incredible mentors and inspiration in this department really helped. Great results and happiness abounded! Why not, when you lose a ton of weight and toxins in short order? The funny thing with emotional eating is the counterpoint, emotional NOT-eating when it’s going great and that works for a while, too.
But resetting and cleansing is not by itself a long term solution, so the“what next?” must come.
On an emotional high, my mentors and all my new knowledge helped me cut a new path. “I will become a plant-based eater,” I thought, “at least until I finish the job.” This attitude, more so than the actual approach, was the bridge I needed and it worked, but… I still was not addressing the emotional parts and I was clearly viewing it as a project to FINISH! Uh-oh, that says something… like still believing that heaven on earth was at the END of the journey and not part of the process.
Along the way of any health recovery will be sprints, jogs, stalls and backslides. I have them just as everyone does.
Stalls and backslides are when addressing the emotional issues has to happen because nutritional changes alone can’t lock in what has been accomplished without an emotional, mental and spiritual shift. I knew that, so I pushed myself to get really honest. No B.S., no excuses.
What was behind my own food-mood relationship?
Why, of course, it was about my relationship with ME. Then I really got it – these things were not happening TO me (as in victim, helpless, without course) but FOR me (as in guiding hands, gifts from the universe, directional).
I saw that the “what next” on my health and life journey was about true acceptance and appreciation of myself. I saw that my emotional eating was a reaction, not an action that I would and could change.
Maybe I started to really believe when Robert Holden said, “each morning, look in the mirror and say to yourself, ‘life loves me’.” Or maybe it was watching the movie You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. It doesn’t really matter, because it is all of my experiences – including those less than joyful ones with food – that are allowing me to make food and love a more healthful pairing.
Joanne Beccarelli is a holistic health coach, juicing junkie, writer, soon to be cookbook author and recovered emotional eater. Inspired by many great voices in the health-thru-food revolution, Joanne found her way out of hiding in shame (losing almost 100 lbs in the process) and stepped away from the corporate world. She now dedicates every day to helping others who are overwhelmed, overworked, and overstressed, find awareness, fulfilment and better health.
Joanne has a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell/T. Colin Campbell Foundation, and became a Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is also a member of American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP), and the International Association of Health Coaches (IAHC).
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