I trained Kiddo from very young to ask him self HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired?) when he's upset or tantruming. It was pretty effective to get him and I to both slow down and figure out what was happening when he was younger.
Now there are no tantrums. He does do Sullen Teenaged Boy Sulking on occasion, which I'm sometimes even entertained by. But it is also an opportunity to ask about feelings, needs and choices.
Food, and specificallys tabling blood sugar does a world of good for moods. Last night I was feeling sadness and I had a moment of wanting to stop on my way home and buy food. I stopped myself because my head said, "Hey, wait, this is emotional eating." And my tummy said, "It's true, we're not hungry." So I smiled happily to myself, mood lifted slightly and drove home.
Well 40 minutes later as I approached home, I was hungry and did stop for food and it also lifted my mood.
What I realized is that it's a fine line between emotional eating to stuff emotions, and making sure to eat enough so that emotions aren't exasperated by blood sugar drops. Which brought me round to remembering that all this stuff that I'm going through has a biological reason. My body is trying to keep me alive.
If I am not in touch with my hunger, and I don't know if I'm hungry because that bit of my body doesn't work, it's a reasonable and possibly useful reaction to eat when there are big emotions. It's a signal that something is wrong. It does turn into food problems eventually because it's using poor signaling as a substitute for self care. But the underlying thing my biology is trying to solve, "Keep her from dying" can be temporarily solved by making sure that I eat food if hunger things aren't working but I'm receiving other potential food-related signals.
Putting this together last night gave me space to forgive myself for emotional eating. And if you'e never struggled with that you might not know that the other half of that cycle is guilt when I realize that I've eaten too much or the wrong thing and feel like I "should" or want to be doing it some other way but couldn't do it.
The truth is that this is a biological issue and I'm not bad or wrong or horrible. And forgiving myself for having made mistakes in the past means that I can be more present in the future. I can eat what I need when I need it and not worry about what might happen. Worrying just leads to guilt cycles.
I wish I could say that I did this all through reading some book and it's the solution to emotional eating for everyone, for ever. But this has been resolved by doing a lot of talking and reading and research and also taking supplements and seeing my doctor every couple/fews weeks.
I feel like the OA people and the people who say, "fat is bad!!!!!!" need to get the message about biology. Addictive behavior is a brain chemical issue. Weird eating things are complex chemical and biological issues. It's also not at all clear that people are even all designed to be a certain size to begin with. (And it's clear that I'm still struggling with mainstream correlations of health and wellness and body size even with the available research. I hate the my body is a political battle ground.)
For me, the biology piece feels a lot more solvable than just, "Use you're willpower or you're a bad person." We know willpower is largely a myth. We know that more than 90% of diets fail. We know medically that dieting is not a solution. But since I've been able to change so many other things in my life sometimes it feels like I "should" be able to just do it. Re-framing my success is very helpful. Remembering integrated systems need to be supported together and not separately as the allopaths would try to do.
However, again and again I find that things change as I heal one body thing or another, one piece at a time, over time. My healer told me that this path is a long one and I didn't realize just how long it would be when I made my commitment to healing nearly 7 years ago.
So right now it's thyroid and thymus with lots of support for absorption, digestion and actually taking the nutrients that my body is not making itself. Now that I am absorbing those nutrients, it's a game changer. Even a few days off my supplements and in sadness with a relationship thing, I'm still fine. I am having emotions, but I get how people can get up every day and keep moving. I still don't think it's healthy to keep moving without acknowledgement of what's so, but I see it's possible.
I hesitate to say these things out loud because it sometimes sounds so dire. It was dire and I am still vigilant about it, possibly more than necessary, I really don't know. But it's great to be able to look back and see how far I've come and how the healing work I have done has made such a huge difference in my life.