If you follow me on social media, you will have seen a few posts I did a couple weeks ago about doing a reset. I’m in weight maintenance and have been for a few years. That being said, it is common for me to notice when I’m on the verge of some old destructive habits, namely trying to handle life by running to food. So, I do the best things I can and take a break from my trigger foods. Trigger foods are ones that cause issues physically such as digestive issues, inflammation, or even throwing my hunger signals out of whack. Trigger food also causes cravings. I love what Lysa TerKurst said in her book, “I’ll Start Again Monday” she said, “We crave what we eat. If I make healthy choices over a period of time, it seems to reprogram my taste buds.” So, noticing that I had been more regularly eating junk that didn’t serve my body, I shrugged my shoulders and settled into a 14-day reset where I stick to fruits, veggies, legumes, lean meats, and whole grains. Easy peasy.
Until I noticed that I was still over eating. Over eating anything: Beans, whole grain waffles, steamed veggies, raisins. I was even making myself sick some evenings, returning to the fridge and pantry like an automaton that couldn’t stop. And, I was MAD. Not like that furious and ravenous anger, more like a brooding simmering resentment and fear that made me prickly and hot and frustrated and weary and sad.
As a life coach, one of my favorite tools to pull out for emotional eating is a simple question: What am I asking the food to do for me? My answer made me so sad. I was wanting the food to compensate for how unfair life felt.
Now, I could list for you the craziness right now. I could literally invite you into this pity party that I threw each and every afternoon and evening for nearly the last month or more, but some of it’s private, too private to share with the world. What I do want you to know is that the pressures and strains, though, were never supposed to be more than I could handle. The problem was that I was trying to do everything and be everything I thought everyone needed me to be. At the end of the day I ended up resenting the precious souls and circumstances God allowed in my life.
Emotional eating is common. But, what I really want to walk you through to do are those BIG CHRONIC emotions that come up, derail your world, and leave you lost. They are the places where we need healing the most. So, as I walk you through my own healing--which has begun, by the way and isn’t anywhere near finished--I want to encourage you to find your own way.
1. Name that emotion and bring it to God. I’ve seen it so many times: women are professionals at pushing through, serving others, and performing and they aren’t even sure what they are feeling. Then, if they realize what it is they feel, they are ashamed so they try to cover it all up.
I dug deep and named a few feelings: fear, overwhelm, exhaustion, and resentment with a capital R and all the fixings. I fled to God like a child and asked Him to be the one to mend my heart, confessing that I couldn’t do it on my own. “This time,” I told God, “I am not going to try and be my own Savior. You do it so much better than me.”
2. Feel it girlfriend. That big feeling has more than likely been pushed down and pushed away. You have not processed it at all. It’s kind of like having to de-weed the garden. If you have something growing inside yourself that doesn’t serve you, you’re going to have to get a little dirty. You're going to have to find it, grasp it with your hands, and pull. You’re going to get messy and worst of all, there will be a hole when you’re done. That is why you want to do this with God, allowing His love and peace to fill that place.
Processing anger, for me, has happened in both runs on the treadmill and late-night tear-filled journaling. Tears are amazing. One of my favorite childhood movies was called, “Quigley Down Under”. The heroine in the film is trapped in a cave with a baby and there are dingos attacking them. At first she tries to almost smother the baby so that its cries wouldn’t draw the dingos to them, but then she realizes that she is about to actually smother her baby to death if she continues. So instead, she grabs up the gun and says, “You want to cry? You cry all you want to. Let’s both make some noise.” I think the Devil wants us silent and smothered, not honest and open and crying out for healing. So, cry all you want to, honey. My challenge right now is not to cry while also running on the treadmill--not a good combination.
3. Lastly, I challenge you to figure out where in your heart and head these feelings are stemming from. IT is our thoughts and beliefs from which our feeling pour, both life-giving and life-stealing.
I sat down during those journaling sessions and wrote down my thoughts and beliefs. All of it was life-stealing proclaiming that my circumstances were unfair, too much, and defeating. I wrote down the thoughts that I was unseen and never compensated for going above and beyond. It is there that God gave me two incredible truths that I am holding close in my healing.
#1 I don’t have to be everything.
#2 God can take the wheel and drive my life so much better than me.
Those two thoughts have actually allowed me to start taking so much better care of myself. I’ve been working out more, cuddling with Adela on the couch and letting the house chores wait, laughing with Micaela instead of hurrying through her cares, and listening to my husband's voice telling me about his adventures over the phone instead of letting him go early. Life’s crazy isn’t calmer, I’ll be honest, but I am.
There you have it, my dear friends. Remember, big feelings are normal. After all, God equipped you with a big, incredible heart. But, instead of eating your way through a season that is hurting you, I want to encourage you to name that feeling as you talk to God, process it, and identify the thoughts and beliefs that fuel the emotion.
Before I sign off, I wanted to update you that I worked out every day last week except for Thursday. I have been working out in the late afternoon which has been perfect, allowing myself to process emotions at the time of the day I’m starting to feel them the most.
You know, you probably have a girlfriend that could use the friendly reminder that she is loved and seen, today. Share this episode with her. When we are going through these seasons we can feel the most alone. I want you to know you are intensely loved and precious.
I’ll catch you next week with another episode. Until then, all my love. Bye!
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.