Hello, fellow emotional eater,
I can not recall a time in my early years when I didn’t cope with or obsess over food. I started to yo-yo diet in my teenage years due to stomach aches, acne, bloating and body insecurities. With all my research, working with thousands of clients and now creating a way to liberate us all from the yo-yo, I have discovered the cause.
Many philosophies of psychology suggest we program our subconscious from our family, surroundings, friends, and teachers from the ages of 0-9. These programs happen because the child’s brain activity is very receptive and operates primarily in the theta state, which is a bit hypnotic. While in the theta state, children spend much of their time mixing the imaginary world with the real world.
A child’s perceptions of the world are directly downloaded into the subconscious during this time, without discrimination and without filters of the analytical self-conscious mind which doesn’t fully exist yet. Our fundamental perceptions about life and our role in it are learned without us having the capacity to choose or reject those beliefs. We were simply programmed.
The problem is that we download our perceptions and beliefs about life, years before we acquire the ability for critical thinking. As young children we download limiting or sabotaging beliefs, those perceptions or misperceptions became our truths.
A non-food example I caught one day was, when I automatically responded to a friend about paying way too much for a concert ticket. RIGHT when I said it, I FELT a feeling that this wasn’t my belief but one that was handed down to me. SO PLEASE pay as much as you want for your favorite concert ticket that brings you immense joy, and don’t let anyone or YOUR small self tell you otherwise.
By now you may be thinking, “Oh crap. I appear to be a victim of my programming.”
The good news is, whatever has been programmed can be deprogrammed and reprogrammed. WOO HOO!
The quality of the self-conscious mind endows humans with one of the most powerful forces in the Universe— the opportunity to express free will. ~Resource: Dr. Bruce Lipton.
What does this have to do with emotional eating?
Your cycle of guilt and shame is from programming and you can change it!
For the Emotional Eater….your timeline may have gone something like this…
Age 0-9: Your subconscious is being programmed. I have clients as young as 5 years of age that were put on a diet. This led them to a lifetime of weight challenges. They wanted to be loyal to their family, so they did what they were told to be a part of the clan and to receive love. You can guess, this has NOTHING to do with calories in and calories out, which is what my university teachings along with many doctors and scientists have been focused on. Instead, their body fluctuated due to a lack of learning when to eat when hunger set in and to stop eating when full. If you are following a diet at this young age or any age, you usually do not listen to your body’s cues but try to do the program perfectly. Or in this case, be a ‘good’ girl or boy.
Then 9-12 you begin to realize you are an independent person. You want to develop self-trust with your food and experiment, but you are now scared and may have developed food insecurity (a real thing). Whether you were told to eat all the food on your plate or force-fed foods that you didn’t like, this created an unstable relationship with food. You were trying to learn self-regulation but you were swinging back and forth from being too hungry or too full. You may have been having blood sugar crashes due to spending long hours in school and eating for energy and most likely didn’t always choose the best foods to replenish your brain’s needs.
Whether you may or may not have had a good childhood, certain situations and feelings got stuck in your subconscious, cells and body and you have been reacting to your life from these planted situations.
Age 12–17: Uh, oh, teenage years. Hormones, insecurities and the desire to belong may have taken you over. A seed might have got planted that you or your body wasn’t good enough. A classmate, teacher, stranger or family member may have said something to you and then you believed it. This is when people begin to not believe in themselves. You started to obsess over how you looked, felt and how others saw you. You now may have put yourself on a diet.
Age 17-25: Now, the next set of crazy hormones flared up, along with insecurities, unsafe relationships and friendships. You are now an adult and need to learn how to take care of yourself. You may have started cooking for yourself for the first time. You bought groceries from a budget that isn’t fit to live on. Your groceries were limited to ramen noodles, convenient items and fast food with friends were your staples. You are beginning to notice some digestive difficulties but you are young enough yet that they are not debilitating.
Age 25-34: All of a sudden you can’t eat certain foods like you use to. For example, ice cream leaves you feeling like your stomach will explode. You developed heaps of foods sensitives and stomach issues overnight. Your weight starts to fluctuate every month and you are beginning to feel scared, out of control and obsessed with how to fix yourself. This stress leaves you gaining about 5-10 pounds a year. On top of this, you are trying to sort your career, finances, life purpose, creating a family and making them proud.
Age 35-44: Now those 30+ pounds will not budge. You have thrown out all of your old clothes and you are not excited at all to go buy new ones. No matter what new activity you add in or which new fad diet you try, you feel good for a while until your overextended life and stressful reality kick in. You give up and feel overwhelmed to even start again.
Age 45-55: Lookout Menopause or Manopause (this is real) is beginning. Your body is doing weird things each month, your healthy hormones are through the roof one day and then tanked the next. You are more confident in your skin and have learned not to care about what others think, but you still feel like you are missing something in regards to your health?
I am in this age range but will speculate a bit more from what I have observed with clients. I would love for you to share your own challenges and obstacles, so we all can learn and prepare:)
Age 55 +: We are heading into our golden years. If we have heaps of health symptoms or diseases, they have become our new normal. If you haven’t had any health issues up until now, and your body begins gaining weight, I see many people feeling powerless because of it. They haven’t had to intimately get to know their body yet, and their body is ready to be considered.
What to do NOW?
Mastering your mind is key: Have you taken the quiz to discover what Food Relationship Type you are? If so, awesome, this first step will help you begin to understand your inner dialogue. Head here to take the quiz
Here is how each Food Relationship Type responds NOW from their past conditioning:
The REBEL•er: Knowing we have an inner rebel that makes us order pizza is essential. There is a voice inside of you that doesn’t feel heard, understood, or appreciated. This was brought on from someone very close to you when you were a child. So every day you are fighting and struggling to feel and be seen. This may follow you into other areas of your life, such as your career or relationships. You keep attracting bosses or partners that leave you feeling invisible or underappreciated. Judging and ignoring your rebel will only make that voice get louder and more aggravated. We can not approach this aspect in us with more control, instead, we pause, and LISTEN to what your true needs are that are not being met.
The COMFORT•er: Knowing that you cope with food and use it as comfort is a great step toward liberating yourself. Food is a friend to you and may have been there for you when no one else was. Maybe you were a latch key kid or someone close to you died and you didn’t get the chance to properly grieve. Instead of judging yourself when you grab food for comfort, you acknowledge this feeling first, then choose what is best for you. And I bet that the extreme feeling of needing food for comfort will lighten as you feel those trapped feelings.
The NUMB•er: You tend to be a highly sensitive person and can feel everyone else’s feelings. This overwhelmed you as a child and you didn’t know how to support yourself or the person whose feelings you were taking on. When you “check out” and later realize you ate the whole bag of chips, just pause and ask what you were truly craving? Was it a hug, phone call, or a home-cooked meal?
The GUILT•er: If the feeling of guilt is your go-to, it is time to shift this programming. This is for SURE programmed from your family or society. Guilt is a reaction when you do not want to take responsibility for what you are feeling. Who made you feel guilty? Why is this still serving you? I still work on this one, especially when loved ones die. I tend to feel guilty that I didn’t love them more or say it more often, so we get to practice and start to SAY IT NOW. It is scary to feel rejected and we hold back the one true thing we crave, intimacy.
The CONNECT•or: This is the version of yourself that you admire and adore! This is when you feel calm, comfortable in your skin and your life choices. You spend a balanced amount of time alone and socializing with loved ones. Food is a part of your life and not over or under consuming. This is my life’s purpose to help you become a CONNECT•or with the most important person, YOU!
Now is the time to shift your reaction and relationship with food:
Many people are projecting on their food from past programming, trauma and old emotions. I created The Feeling Diet process to help you reinstate a NEW relationship with food as you release the past!
Let me help you begin…
1. The Meals & Feels Program: This program supports you to observe how you relate to nurturing yourself. It will assist you to work WITH your feelings and emotions. Head here to learn more about what you receive!
3. The Meals & Feels Recipe Book: With over 100 recipes to match your cravings and implement the Conscious Nutrition Food Tree and 4 Meal Types. The recipe book is available in print and on Amazon!
Your no more yo-yo leader,
Heather Fleming, C.C.N.