• September 29th, 2020

Opinion: Emotional Eating

When I started on my fitness journey, there was a lot I was intending to rectify. There were and still are areas in my life I needed to take a serious look at. For starters, I wanted to uproot my sleeping habits. I had long since I was a child developed a real love for sleep, which later meant I hated mornings and was understood to be grouchy and grumpy in the morning. It soon got to a point where the people at home knew to steer clear of me in the morning, as I would only become jovial and myself at around 10 am. This later proved a problem, especially with a work environment of different people and different personalities. I decided that in my fitness journey, I would be going to the gym at 5am to curb the habit I had formulated over so many years. I wanted to no longer be grouchy in the morning, and given the head start of starting my day at 5am, I would inevitably be a lot friendlier come 8am. 

Besides, I wanted to shed some weight. The thing about hitting adulthood is that no one truly prepares you for the hectic work schedule which becomes filled with eating take-outs and not having time to prepare healthy home-cooked meals. This meant that before I knew it, KFC was a way of life. I lived for zinger wings and if I am honest, had way too many zinger wings than is even humanly possible. 

I turned to food every time life became tough and hectic. I ate my way out of depressing episodes of life and before I knew it, the food I consumed was always sugar-filled or filled with unhealthy fats. My waist became bigger, jeans no longer fit and before I knew it, I would continuously wear clothes that cover me up as opposed to show my figure. 

Joining the gym was me saving myself from myself. Making a conscious decision to change what I knew would end up in medical problems and one or the other chronic disease. I dragged myself to the gym to get healthier and get my weight under control.

What no one told me is that it is one thing to want to change your sleeping patterns and lose weight, it is totally another thing to get your eating right. 

Emotional eating and binge eating is something I only discovered months after being in the gym. I never really saw that I was eating due to emotions spiralling out of control or binge eating when I did emotional eat. It was only after cleaning up my eating that I discovered whenever I found myself in an emotional episode of life, I would start eating to curb my emotions. I would be stuffing my face to deal with how I felt.  It hit me square in the chest when I realized that I had a toxic relationship with food. It never occurred to me that I could have a relationship with food, never mind a toxic one until I realized that when I was emotional, I could not stop eating. The thing is with cleaning up your eating is that eventually when you do binge eat, the feeling that you are left with afterwards is horrible. You become sluggish and your body feels foreign because your body is no longer used to that much food or that much sugar.

Here is what I have learnt though – I first had to admit to myself that I had a toxic relationship with food. I then had to establish what my triggers were and that usually takes one to the root cause of where it started in your life and when you find the root, you are then able to uproot it. It requires choosing to actively curb an unhealthy habit, which also means you have to face parts of you and a reality you probably do not want to admit. 

At the end of the day, in order to move forward and ensure you do not relapse in your journey, it will require you to do the work of facing yourself and working towards a tangible solution. What’s my solution you may ask? I don’t know. I am still trying to figure it out. That is the beauty of a journey, it is filled with constant teaching moments. We are constantly learning and constantly growing, to become the best versions of ourselves. 

*Mavis Braga Elias is a Civil Engineer by qualification and a Marketing Officer by profession. A philanthropist of heart and founder of the EM Love Foundation. She won the Vivid Philanthropist award in 2015 and the Queens Leaders Awards 2018. Catch up with Mavis:
* Twitter – @maviselias; Instagram – @maviselias; Facebook – fb.me/mavis.braga

Staff Reporter
2019-10-16 07:30:36 | 11 months ago

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