Emotional eating, anyone?

After a few months of burping, bloating and gas, my herbalist has recommended that I go on a FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols) diet for a month.

Translated to human, FODMAPs are short-chain carbs that can trigger bacterial fermentation in the gut. This can cause all sorts of trouble for our digestive system contributing to conditions like IBS and colitis.

FODMAP presents a long list of daily staples to avoid.

No more beetroot, onions or garlic.
Bye bye avocado.
See you later cashews………….please, not the cashews!   

My immediate response? Panic. This FODMAP malarkey brought on a sweat. What will I eat for the next four weeks?

This new elimination challenge called for some quality time that only the contents of my fridge and larder could resolve. Yep, you guessed it. As I stropped like a teenager, I ate ALL the high FODMAP foods that I could find. Someone had to finish them!

Reflecting on my behaviour as I burped my way into the early evening, I realised that it was the perfect example of how I use food to soothe my emotions.

Whilst this is unlikely a revelation to you, it got me thinking.

The longest and most complex relationships we have, are with ourselves and food. And whilst I have spent countless hours and money analysing my thoughts and feelings, I have spent surprisingly less time delving into the complexities of what, why and when I eat.

Ever find yourself peering into the fridge desperately searching for that delicious morsel that will satisfy a craving, only to find yourself back again half an hour later?

At these times it’s not hunger that needs to be satisfied. If you stop and question this behaviour, you’ll see its driven by something deeper.

Its fair to say that we all aspire to eat healthily and feel good in our bodies but can find ourselves making food decisions that are driven by stress, loneliness, boredom or convenience. We treat ourselves to something decadent, like a gooey chocolate pudding, we feel satisfied for a few moments, but are later crippled by negative self-talk, regret or shame.

The majority of us get trapped in patterns of knowing what we should be doing around food choices but this doesn't lead to a change in behaviour. That's because it’s really difficult to translate good intentions into action when we ignore our relationship with food.

Take a moment to listen to your inner voice around food. Is the voice an ally or does it take on the tone of a critical parent or teacher? Do you place a judgement value on your eating habits – I’ve been good or bad, virtuous or naughty?

In truth the inner, critical voice adds stress to the equation.

There is nothing wrong with eating the occasional slice of cake and enjoying every morsel. Rather shift your focus to making a conscious decision about the food you consume without the guilt.

Tuning in to your body’s signals and growing your awareness of your relationship with food helps you to pinpoint the triggers that cause you to stray from your healthy eating intentions.

My advice? Next time you head to the fridge searching for that “just right” savoury or sweet treat take a breath. Focus on your breathing for a minute or two and ask yourself "do I need to eat right now or can this feeling be nourished by something else?"

Want more help? You can contact me for some 1:1 person-centred health coaching ❤️