Stop Using Food to Cope

May 19, 2017 in Recovery

Friends it’s Friday and the weather has been absolutely glorious. Hot sunny days make my soul SO HAPPY!! I hope you all have been enjoying your weeks thus far. 🙂
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Stop coping with food.

What do I mean by that? Honestly a lot of things.

I used food to cope with a whole lot of issues in my life. It became my backbone for how I got through things. Feeling sad? Don’t eat as much. Feeling big? Skip a snack. Feeling good about yourself? Let yourself have that dessert.

I cannot tell you how many people out there in this world, especially this country, use food to cope with their problems. Because the thing is, we NUMB our problems- whether that’s with food, drug/alcohol addictions, cutting, or doing something as simple as scrolling through your Instagram for 20 minutes before you get out of bed.

For me, my eating disorder cultivated out of other issues. A type A personality, anxiety, gymnastics, a constant feeling of not being good enough. So I did I cope with all of those issues? Food. My eating disorder did  not just start because I wanted to have an eating disorder, or because I wanted to get skinny. It was a culmination of SO many things. So many issues I numbed through years of restriction.

I numbed my feelings with food because I didn’t know how to cope.

How does a 13 year old girl deal with feeling fatter than her friends at a pool party? Or feeling so anxious every time she walked into the classroom? How does she deal with getting yelled at while at gymnastics practice for not sticking every routine?

For me, I numbed these feelings with food. That was my coping skill. 

And I know for a FACT that many people do the same things.

For some it may be binging in order to provide comfort. The world seems scary, life seems overwhelming? Numb your feelings and binge on something. Everything in your life seems to be going wrong? Numb your feelings and skip your breakfast.

Feel. Your. Feelings. 

I cannot emphasize this enough. Feel your feelings. Embrace them. Allow them to grow within you and recognize that you will not be happy and put together all the time. Gosh, I wish we taught this in middle school. I wish we taught kids how to feel their feelings and correctly cope with what they’re going through. Because when what we’re feeling is new and uncomfortable, that is scary- for anyone. And feelings of discomfort typically lead to wanting to avoid something, in this case, the feeling. So we numb them. 

I strongly believe that every person could positively benefit from therapy. Therapy helped me unravel why I developed an eating disorder in the first place, why I felt the need to hurt my body so incredibly much. And it later helped me discover why I was so depressed, why I felt the need to again hurt myself. Sometimes we can’t discover what feelings were numbing without the help of someone else, and that is okay. Other people provide support and comfort which is a true blessing and beautiful things.

When I learned to feel my feelings, I stopped feeling the urge to use food to numb them- because I had nothing to numb. 

If I woke up and felt crappy about myself? I cried. I told my mom. And I embraced it. The wow, I don’t like what I look like today type of feelings. But I still ate because I knew that wouldn’t help me feel any better if I didn’t. If I felt lonely and worthless I let myself feel that way. I couldn’t control it. I accepted the feeling. I didn’t use food to cope with it. I didn’t numb it. I feel my feelings and I move on.

Feel what you are feeling.  Do not numb them, do not hide from them. Stop using food to cope with them. You are a human being for HAVING feelings. But please, stop feeling ashamed for them! 

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Enjoy your weekends lovely people!! Thank you for all the love you give me. Always feeling blessed.

Sending all the love to YOU. <3

Xoxo

Lyss<3

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20 Comments

  • Reply Steph May 19, 2017 at 4:42 am

    👏👏👏I applaud you my dear for all you have learned! Love u!

  • Reply Erin May 19, 2017 at 10:47 am

    This is such an important message to get across, I wasted a lot of years with pretty poor coping strategies and at 36 am finally on the right track. I agree, this is definitely something that should be taught in health class in middle and high school. Education doesn’t do enough to teach social emotional learning and it is so needed. Thanking for all you do to get this message out there!

    • Reply Alyssa May 29, 2017 at 2:18 am

      thank you so much Erin <3 I agree that emotional coping should be taught in schools!! thanks for reading <3

  • Reply Emmy May 19, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    This was so beautifully written and right on the money Lyss! <3

    • Reply Alyssa May 29, 2017 at 2:19 am

      aw thanks Emmy <3

  • Reply Kristy from Southern In Law May 20, 2017 at 1:58 am

    I cannot emphasize this enough. Feel your feelings. Embrace them. Allow them to grow within you and recognize that you will not be happy and put together all the time.

    One hundred times yes. Especially that last sentence.

    IT IS OKAY TO FEEL. We don’t have to live in this robot world of pretending that everything is running smoothly because that’s not life!
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recent Things: Coffee, Pirates and Autumn ViewsMy Profile

    • Reply Alyssa May 29, 2017 at 2:19 am

      Ahhh yess!! you are spot on with everything you said <3

  • Reply Emily May 20, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    I’m thankful you wrote about this, because it made me think about whether or not I still use food to cope occasionally, and I think I do especially when I’m bored or . . . lonely. I don’t use it cope nearly as much as I used to, but the Lord is working on me and teaching me to trust Him more and not food.
    Emily recently posted…The Best Quick Snacks, Meals, and Munchies For ED RecoveryMy Profile

    • Reply Alyssa May 29, 2017 at 2:20 am

      it is important to take a step back and see if we do use it to cope!

  • Reply Sarah May 21, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    I am definitely constantly working on feeling my feelings- and the hardest part, talking about them! It’s hard to be vulnerable, to feel and not numb out. However, I always feel better and more authentic when I am living my truth and not worrying about suppressing emotions because I want to appear like I “have it together.” Thanks for this post Lyss, very thought provoking <3
    Sarah recently posted…Part Two: Nutritional Therapy in the Treatment of DepressionMy Profile

    • Reply Alyssa May 29, 2017 at 2:20 am

      it is so tough to not numb things out! I think each and every person struggles with that. xoxo <3

  • Reply Cora May 21, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Absolute truth in everything you say here, Lyss. It’s absolutely how our society has learned to be. And once you’ve been programmed this way, it is really hard to get yourself out. “Sometimes we can’t discover what feelings we’re numbing without the help of someone else” —> so so so true. Even someone like me, who has had a lot of therapy and is quite aware of why I do things, gets surprised when I see my therapist or dietician and start talking and each time learn something new or become aware of a new feeling that I have been totally distracting myself from.
    I have to wonder – do you think children are being given any more guidance in this area now? With the new knowledge of disorders and coping mechanisms, you would really hope there would be. But then with the rise of technology and all the distraction coping mechanisms THAT brings in, I wonder if it is actually getting worse?
    Cora recently posted…Hard Decisions, (Crappy) Job Luck and Typical Life TimingMy Profile

    • Reply Alyssa May 29, 2017 at 2:24 am

      I think it is really tough to come to terms to some of the feelings we may have. And I agree that with the rise of technology, our phones can distract us from our true feelings. That’s why I really value disconnecting from phones and such!

  • Reply Ellie Pell May 21, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    Aw, I enjoyed reading this. I think you hit it on the head saying you shouldn’t make yourself feel better by not eating. However, sometimes I make myself feel better BY EATING hahaha. I might not even be hungry, but eating something that looks good, and feeling good about it is sometimes perfect. Call me an emotional eater, I’d rather be that than always an “intuitive eater”. The best food I eat is usually consumed randomly and not when I’m hungry =P
    Ellie Pell recently posted…I know my bodyMy Profile

    • Reply Alyssa May 29, 2017 at 2:26 am

      Thanks for reading Ellie 🙂 And I totally get what you’re saying with that! Eating something that looks good and feeling good about it is great.

  • Reply Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar May 22, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    I love what you’re saying here. For a long time, I thought I wasn’t an emotional eater because I had so much self-control around food; it wasn’t until later that I realized that my self-control around food was also a way of coping with emotion. I used to think eating emotionally would mean I would eat more, but I actually eat more now that I’m learning to detach my emotions from food.
    Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar recently posted…6 Weeks in Review + ChangesMy Profile

    • Reply Alyssa May 29, 2017 at 2:27 am

      Detaching our emotions from food is seriously so important, and I am so proud of you for moving towards that step!

  • Reply Melanie May 22, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Such a great message Alyssa. I used food and exercise to cope for years and it was definitely my way of hiding my feelings and using restriction to mask the problem. I love what you said – “feel your feelings.” It feels so freeing to be able to express how I’m feeling in healthy ways. <3

    • Reply Alyssa May 29, 2017 at 2:28 am

      Thank you Melanie <3 Expressing ourselves in healthy ways is crucial!

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