Comfort food is a term used to describe anything that we reach for in times
of stress or anxiety. We eat it because it reminds us of when were kids, often its
food that our mother made for us; macaroni and cheese, ice cream sundaes,
cakes, biscuits, anything that is a little bit naughty but feels sooo good! We
know we shouldn't eat it but we crave the comfort that the food brings.
I have a friend who is an alcoholic and he had been sober for the past
two years, right up until he had a very stressful experience which drove him
straight to the liquor store to grab a bottle. Now you might think that his
situation is entirely different from your own.
The truth is a bit different though. Often we are triggered by an emotional
situation right before we develop an overwhelming urge to eat a cupcake or buy
a chocolate bar - we just don't associate the emotional situation with the
urge. What’s your drug of choice?
You see we are all addicted to something; coffee, chocolate, alcohol, cake.
In fact researchers are now saying that sugar is just as addictive, if not more
so , than cocaine. Yes, you read that right sugar
is more addictive than cocaine.
And just like any addict we reach for our drug
of choice whenever our emotional buttons get pushed. We might not do it
straight away but sometime over the next couple of hours our addiction will
kick in and we will feel compelled to satisfy our craving.. This is why we
don’t connect it to the argument we had with our boss or the fight we had with
our spouse or the way that we yelled at the kids.
I have another friend who is gluten intolerant, whenever she eats it she
feels terrible; her body aches, she starts yawning and wanting to sleep and her
nose runs so you think she would avoid it like the plague… but she doesn’t.
Sure she can go days or even weeks without eating any, she will only buy gluten
free options when she is doing the shopping and everything is fine. Then
something will push her buttons and she will give in to temptation and have a
cupcake or other non gluten free treat and then she will feel like crap and
berate herself for her lack of willpower. The truth is it has nothing to do
with willpower and everything to do with how she was feeling on an emotional
When any of us give in to our craving for something that we know we
shouldn’t be eating or drinking, what we are trying to achieve is to quiet down
the emotional storm that is raging inside us. It might be raging away deep,
deep down, so deep that we are not even consciously aware of it, but it will be
there. Self-sabotage is misguided self-love
I listened to a webinar recently and
the person being interviewed made the statement that self-sabotage is misguided
self-love. We are trying to keep ourselves safe and the means we do that (like
eating gluten when you know it is not good for you, ordrinking alcohol when you are an alcoholic)
might seem crazy to someone on the outside but at the time they make perfect
sense to us,
The trouble is when we sedate our emotions we are numbing out part of
ourselves and life starts to become a bland, beige kind of world. Our emotions
are signposts to what is going on deep inside us and by tuning them out we miss
the messages and the lessons that they have for us. How do we know if we are sedating an
emotion? How can we avoid it?
(1)Overwhelming cravings: You may have been
able to go weeks or even months without reaching for a piece of cake and
suddenly all you can think of is cake ( or whatever your drug of choice is).
You might argue with yourself or endeavor to side-track yourself from
indulging but that nagging craving just won’t leave you alone
(2)Scroll backwards: Do a mental run
through of your day and see if you can pinpoint the moment that your craving
started and then scroll back further to what happened just before that. Chances
are that you had an argument or an encounter with someone that pushed some
button and flooded you with emotions. Shortly after that came the craving
(3)See the pattern: While we are unaware
of the pattern we can’t take any steps to avoid it and complain about our lack
of will power or our weakness. Everything shifts once you see the connection
between the emotions and the craving. We can’t change anything until we are
aware of what needs to be changed.
(4)Choose differently: This is the hardest
part. Acknowledging the pattern is the first real step in changing the pattern
and the next step into wholeness is to make a different choice. Often the
easiest way to do this is with the help and guidance of an experienced
therapist as confronting deeply buried emotions and memories is not an easy
task which is why we opt for the easy solution – like eating cake, right up
until that doesn’t work for our highest interests any more.
This is one of the beauties of EFT ( tapping) as
you don’t have to relive old memories in order to clear and release them.
So next time you are hit by an overwhelming urge
to indulge in your drug of choice ask yourself: “What emotion am I trying to
put to sleep?” The answer might surprise you.