Principle 7: Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness
This principle used to be called “Cope with your feelings without using food” and it was changed because you can use food to cope with big feelings.
You decide. You are a grown ass woman who can decide how to eat and when to use food to make you feel better.
That said, the moms I work with often are tired of only using food to cope or they don’t even realize they are using food to cope with stress. Busy morning? Forgot to eat breakfast? Chasing kids? Making lunch. Cleaning lunch. Teaching kids table manners. Before you know it you are hungry, tired, and emotionally drained (partly because you are hungry) from the stress of family life. You eat your lunch while standing, as fast as you can, frantically chewing each bite, nearly choking from eating too fast.
There are many strategies to be employed with moms at this point. Identifying emotions, why they aren’t prioritizing eating, or how skipping meals is causing them to eat too fast are all good places to start.
Other moms binge eat at the end of the day as a way to numb anxiety, stress, loneliness, unhappiness, or other big emotions.
Often I find moms who do this learned to do it when they were kids. As children when we feel stressed or have a traumatic event happen (from big trauma to little trauma) kids don’t have many coping skills available to them. Food is one of the only things kids can control and use to make themselves feel better.*
Each client is different and my job is to help you understand your relationship to food and your emotions; then help you create a plan for how you want to use food in the future. You might be using food to cope after you yell at your kids. Or to self-soothe when you are angry so you don't explode.
You might reach for chips after scrolling through social media and you see your friends gathering without you for drinks.
Maybe you tell yourself you will fold the laundry after you eat as a way to procrastinate.
Or maybe you reward yourself with a huge glass of wine after putting the kids to bed which leads to another. Then another.
Perhaps you use food to celebrate life...got a good grade? Let’s eat cake! Completed a hard job? cake! Meet up with friends? cake!
Another common form I see is moms who are trying so hard to do things the ‘right way,’ but this level of perfectionism in one area makes them feel crazy, Food then becomes a way to safely lose control, to let off steam, a safe place to say “fu*k it” and let yourself feel out of control.
There are so many ways we all use food to cope with our lives. You aren’t alone and we can find ways for you to cope instead of feeling guilty, ashamed, disappointed, or stressed all the time about food. That’s draining you and stealing all your mental energy.
Everything is always on your own terms with gentle accountability and support. I help you find the tools you need to be successful and to meet your goals.
You can learn to control food, versus food controlling you. You can learn to use food to your advantage. Eating can become your new super hero skill that makes you feel strong, empowered, and nourished. When you're ready to start your journey and learn to cope with emotions in a way that works for you, book a consult and let's talk.
*Note on Eating Disorders: Because children don’t have many coping skills, sometimes when kids start using food to comfort themselves or use it as a way to feel in control in a traumatic situation or family life, this can lead to eating disorders. If you were diagnosed previously with an eating disorder and have “recovered,” your relationship might still be fraught with anxiety and stress. Intuitive Eating is a beautiful companion to your healing journey with food. It might be the final piece of the puzzle.
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder please know you aren’t alone, you are not broken, and there many people here to help. Start here for many resources or reach out directly on Instagram and I can point you in the right direction.