Eating Your Feelings
Do you ever “eat your feelings”? Do you eat when you are not hungry, eat until you are uncomfortably full, or hide what you eat because you’re ashamed or embarrassed of what you just ate? Do you not know how to stop?
Emotional eating is a tricky business. We can’t just stop eating, like a drinker can go “cold turkey.” And many of our eating patterns were ingrained before we could talk, so they may be difficult to pinpoint and then get a handle on. It often takes people years of therapy or self-help groups to be able to identify their emotional eating patterns and what they must do to stop.
Tory Butterworth, PhD, has greatly simplified this process by describing four different ways people eat their feelings, including where each of these patterns came from and what must be done for them to stop. Once emotional eaters identify the way or ways they eat their feelings, they can quickly determine what they need to change in their life.
These four types of emotional eating correspond to the acronym STOP.
Samplers or Grazers use eating to combat the boredom which arises from their inability to decide what you want (in food or life.) Samplers and grazers need to learn how to make decisions which are good for them, rather than to automatically adapt to the needs and expectations of others.
Traumatized Eating calms the nervous system, helping those who have suffered from life-threatening circumstances to find a sense of safety in their current life. Traumatized over eaters need to learn how to reach a state of emotional equilibrium, finding ways to comfort themselves other than through food.
Overworked overeaters, food becomes their one way of “giving back” to themselves after spending the day giving to others. Overworked overeaters need to learn how to place their own needs first and to ask for help from others, rather than assuming that if they don’t do something, it won’t get done.
Picky overeaters are resistant to taking in what is offered to them, making a statement of “No” rather than “Yes” to life. Picky eaters need to learn how to identify their needs and what it takes for them to be satisfied.
Remember the Food Log I mentioned in my last blog? CLICK HERE for blog. Look at your pattern – does it fit with one (or more) of these types?