Ever since I gained weight, I was in the realm of denial. I always believe that eating a lot was part of my life that I could never control. I always instilled in my head that it was the only thing that can make me happy. But not until I was diagnosed with many medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, liver damage, obesity, and God knows what else is out there. After the struggle with a bunch of physical pain, I realized I couldn’t do a lot. I experienced pressure and tons of restrictions which quite kind of me to extensive emotional and mental instability.
The fact that I couldn’t see it was more damaging than I thought. I was so focused on what-ifs and tried working it all out all by myself. I honestly do not know what to do because the more I tried controlling my eating habit, the more it backfired at me. So to address the complicated situation, I straightened up my head and went to seek professional help. It was about time.
My counselor said that one of the simplest reasons I may be overeating is that I am distracted. I was confused about understanding that statement because I wasn’t sure what she was trying to tell me. My counselor elaborated that when I am distracted eating, I am not fully aware of the experience of eating my food. She said I was not enjoying it to the extreme that I only eat because I feel like it and not because my hunger strikes or my body needs it. With that, I struggled to identify my fullness level and what amount of food actually satisfies me.
The counselor explained that the distraction always takes place when I am not concentrating on eating and doing a lot of stuff at the same time instead. Usually, that was where I watched TV, used my phone, drove my car, or worked on my computer. She even said that when I am also ruminating thoughts in my mind, I could eat a lot because I won’t know if I am full or not, which is entirely true at that point.
To address that distraction issue, my counselor gave a piece of advice to remove all those things that take up so much of my attention when eating. She said I should consciously enjoy my food and know how much I want to eat it. At first, it was unusual because I was not used to thinking that I should enjoy eating food. But when I started focusing on what’s on the table and not thinking about anything, I realized that I genuinely appreciate how food makes me feel. Everything about how the food I eat tastes, smells, and looks made me understand my hunger cues.
Emotional Eating And The Effect Of The Environment
The process of changing my eating habit didn’t stop there because as much as I want to fully incorporates a mindful-eating lifestyle, my emotions often get in the way. I explained to my counselor that despite my effort in putting away all the distractions aside, I can’t still make it when my emotions are out of control. Sometimes boredom takes all the effort and energy out of me. And let’s not talk about anxiety and stress, which happened to be the number one source of my negative eating behavior.
The thing I understand that I was doing wrong is relying on comforting foods that are unhealthy. You can’t blame me, though. Having pizza, burger, and fries in the middle of the night made me feel relaxed and happy. But again, those are detrimental to my overall well-being, and eating tons of food when I know I shouldn’t be my sweet escape.
Another thing she said that affects my eating behavior aside from the emotional factors is the environment. Seriously, I was not expecting that to be an issue. But she explained that environmental triggers are unavoidable sometimes. It was those situations that put me in a position where there is no available refusal. And that even if I know, I shouldn’t grab a can of soda or eat a lot of junk foods, the situation often calls for it. Usually, I can’t control it when I go out with friends, went to a bar, visit my relatives’ house, etc. Therefore, it becomes challenging to remember to check in with the food I should and shouldn’t consume.
When I realized the mistakes I made in my eating habits, I tried to change my lifestyle but tried not to overdo it. My counselor said that I should still be compassionate with myself, so as much as possible, I practiced mindfulness eating to explore the root cause of my eating disorder. So far, I am more than thankful for realizing the mistakes I made, and I am now trying to get better at managing my disorder.