I was working with a client this week, and as I read their food logs, it looked like my client was triggered to overeat. I noticed dinners were twice their normal size compared to where they were a month ago during our last session.
There must be an emotional trigger causing the over-eating. Often, when there is lack of control of a situation (happens a lot during family meals were you have everyone fighting to be right and proving you wrong), we just keep eating so we can cope, manage or survive. Yet we don’t necessarily feel good about it. The situation or the over-eating. And we often don’t even know we are doing it.
Hmm, what seems to be going on?? I asked myself before our session.
During our session, I asked the client questions about the dinner schedule and asked how they felt during dinners.
Prior to this, my client had really gotten good at intuitive eating, and eating to being comfortable vs overeating until full.
But now, the portions were twice as big as before just like when we started.
So I asked questions to understand what was happening and asked the client if they noticed this increase in the dinner portions.
Me: Tell me about dinners. Was there some additional stress the past few weeks? (because of isolation, etc)
—- Yes, I now have to eat dinner with my whole family. It stresses me out every time.
Me: Tell me about that. Is it the conversation that triggers you? Or what about being with family causes you stress?
Are you eating just to stay silent??
—- YES! I am totally eating just to avoid saying anything. I don’t want to get into an argument and if I say anything, I am always wrong.
So yes, I eat so no one can attack me. I am not enjoying my food any more like I did.
So we worked on breathing techniques (which we have used for other situations), and reframing the situation so they can be an observer rather than the potential prey of nasty comments.
We did some tarot cards, to aid in providing inspiration for connecting with their heart after calming the mind,
and remind the client of how playful, powerful and kind they are and how to be able to use that power to respond rather than react….
I encouraged them to use their coaching skills just like they do for working with the kids in sports….and tap into their innate peaceful ways.
My client was encouraged to see it all with a fresh ‘innocent’ perspective and felt really good about the idea of being able to enjoy dinners again and reconnecting to their internal guidance system. “I feel so much better when I eat the way I want and the way you taught me.”
Emotional triggers are common especially now with the isolation issues. We may feel like we have nowhere to hide. We have to do things in ways we were not prepared. And the emotions surface as we are forced to adapt and the anger, resentment and anxiety surface as a result.
The key is not to suppress the emotions surfacing and try to silence them. They will only get louder in the future. You want to be aware of the emotion, try to breathe deeply to quiet the mind so you can see a new perspective. You may feel like you have stepped outside of the situation and can now be an observer. Then you can see what is really happening and respond calmly rather than react when you come back to the situation.
You will find that you won’t be triggered into over-eating or eating to be silent. You will be able to enjoy the meals once again and eat until comfortable
If you are feeling triggered by stress and finding you are eating differently, more or uncontrollably, reach out as we can re-align you to the joy, fun and adventure of eating, moving & sleeping based on who you are.