I just read a post by Allison that inspired me to expand on my thoughts, based mainly on my experience (and some research) when it comes to food abuse. In her article, she wrote about speaking with her nutritionist regarding her emotional eating, and what she describes her main problem as being “using food for everything”.
Allison went on to say that in the past, when she was “eating raw”, that she didn’t have the compulsions and problems with overeating and emotional eating that she does now. This brought up her question of whether her food abuse is truly an emotional problem, or a physical issue.
This can be confusing because there is so much discussion about emotional eating (I’ve written quite a few articles about it, including my experience with it), however the more that I experience eating only whole foods (not raw, but mainly unprocessed foods), cutting out the addictive ingredients of sugar, refined flour, unhealthy fats, added sodium, and even dairy (I’m finding information that it can be addictive, also), I do not experience even the desire to abuse food. I don’t have the desire to binge, overeat, or use food for emotional reasons.
This was the pure result that I experienced in my ban on refined sugar experiment of cutting out all refined sugar (and other ingredients). I didn’t have any physical cravings for food and I was released from the cycle of food addiction. It was very peaceful, just wonderful in fact.
I also noted in my experiment updates that I wasn’t free of all anxieties, and sometimes I did have some thoughts of reaching for food, but as long as I jotted that down in my trusty journal, I moved past it. These weren’t physical cravings though, so they did not have any of the pull towards wanting to use food that I would feel when eating processed food, full of all of those addictive ingredients.
I do think that there is such a thing as emotional eating, but I am tending more and more towards the solution being to eliminate those foods that cause the physical cravings. If you give yourself a break and get off of those “one is never enough” foods, you can being to think clearer and live in a whole new world, free of those cravings. If you don’t have the cravings, you aren’t as susceptible to reaching for food at the drop of a hat (or emotion 😉 ).
Even when you are “eating clean”, as I like to call it, you do still need to work on processing your emotions rather than considering using food to cover them up, but when you get those chemicals, additives, and sugars out of your system, you are better able to deal with your emotions anyway.