The Two Poles of the Emotional Eating Spectrum That Could Change How We See Depression and Eating Disorders

The Two Poles of the Emotional Eating Spectrum That Could Change How We See Depression and Eating Disorders

Food and Emotions, Emptiness and Depression

One of the most common ways food becomes mis-conceptual in our lives is because of how we use it to handle our emotions.  If you think about it, food is involved in every emotion, whether we are celebrating joyously with a buffet of brightly colored dishes and desserts, or it’s a funeral, and we are halfheartedly eating funeral sandwiches and hotdishes as we process our losses.  We have cake and full service at weddings, and coffee and bars at midafternoon coffee.  Food is with us for every occasion and for every emotion.  It is the concrete form of what we are emotionally feeling.  It is something tangible to grasp when we can’t get a handle on anything else.  

There are two ways food changes for us when we eat to fill a void.  In phases of depression, it begins by eating just because of habit.  Then we eat because we feel we should.  We may not be hungry, but eating gives us something to do, when we simply don’t know what to do anywhere else.  Then we eat because we are desperately trying to feel something, anything.  Then there’s the emotional eating, where we simply want to feel good and grab whatever is handy, whatever is easy and momentarily satisfying.  The problem with these foods is that they are the typical foods that jack the metabolism and raise the feel good hormones….for a time.  But when they come crashing down they don’t stop at normal levels, dipping far below, requiring more and more to bring back “normal”.  And the vicious cycle has begun.  Not only that, but the addictive chain of chemicals has begun and we crave what we get from the temporary high, as strong as any drug.

But at least in the first way that I just laid out, there is ACTION.  There is a process, and something is happening.  Even if the choices we make with our food is  inappropriate or inaccurate, there is still thought and decision there.

The two damaging evolutions of using food to fill a void are on opposite ends of the spectrum.  One is full intent on harnessing whatever we can GET from the food, in order to just feel good, as I explained above.  This type of emotional eating leads to poor eating habits, weight gain, acne, and a whole host of bodily elimination problems, with long term chronic system failure and disease down the road.  

But do this long enough, and the swing to the other end of the spectrum is far more damaging.  On this end, eating is remote, if we eat at all.  It is mundane.  It is tasteless.  Food no longer fills a void, because the void is endless.  It is like as they say with an appendage, say an arm or a leg.  If you don’t use something the body naturally atrophies it and preserves its resources for the parts the body is still using.  Think of a person that has ever been in a cast, how skinny, gaunt and pale it looks when the cast is removed.  When you don’t use something, there is no need for energy to go there.  When you don’t use food as food is meant to be, as fuel for the cells to become the parts of the body, there is no need for the digestive processors, enzymes and chemicals that give the food taste and function.  There is no need for the stimulus of the nervous system to activate these.  Without the foods to glean our nourishment from, to continue to build a body that carries on, and without the stimulus of the nervous system, much of the natural “body electric” is diminished.  You may have heard this to be called CHI.  And while there are many ways for the body electric to weaken, it is crucial to note that this weakens both the ENERGY of the body field AND the PHYSICAL form of the body.  

It is much wiser to fully allow ourselves to understand the emotion we are feeling, without judgement or trying to “solve” it with food.  It is much wiser to allow the time to feel the feeling fully, learn what we can glean from it, and then lovingly allow ourselves to move back into a state of grace and love, of which is the real vibrational realm where food becomes us wholly and completely, and is most capable to be of nourishing potential.  


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