July 22, 2024
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July 22, 2024
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Emotional Freedom From Food

It’s 5 p.m. The baby is screaming, 4-year-old is tantruming and 10-year-old is trying to talk. You want to scream, too.

Frustration and resentment boil in your blood. You begin to think about all the horrible people and terrible circumstances that got you to this moment.

Suddenly, the oven rings, and chicken nuggets and fries come out. You serve each child, because of course their needs come before yours. As soon as there is some peace and quiet, you notice that you ate five chicken nuggets.

You keep eating: fries, cookies, soda… anything edible. The tight gripping of your stomach begins to loosen. The situation is still painful and overwhelming, but there is something soothing going on.

For the majority of women I speak with, this situation is a daily or weekly occurrence.

Another scenario: It’s Friday night, and your husband has to go to shul at the perfect time—bedtime. When he finally comes home, you eat an entire challah, only realizing it when there is nothing left on the tray. You intended on having one or two pieces.

Women ask, “Am I the only one that does this? What’s wrong with me?”

These scenarios can illustrate two important points about our relationship with food.

First, many of these women need reminders that their most basic need of all, food, is a priority. You wouldn’t send your child to school without lunch and snacks. But when I ask my clients if they packed themselves anything for their six-hour workday, I hear, “Nah, who needs food?”

It’s comical; we think we’re superhuman.

On a biological level, the human body functions optimally when being fed every two to three hours. Your car cannot run without gas, and neither can your body. Give yourself some compassion if you’re recognizing this now. Start off slow. Try to set an alarm every two or three hours to check in with your hunger. Always keep snacks that feel good in your body inside your bag and in the car.

On the other hand,, let’s say you feel fed but when you feel any type of emotional pain, the food just calls to you.

For some people, food has always been there to help. When you fell, mom was there with a lollipop. When your baby screams, the ice cream calls your name.

This coping mechanism takes the edge off at the moment but feels lousy when you find yourself uncomfortably stuffed on a daily basis. So what can you do when stress levels are high and food seems like the only available coping mechanism?

Try Dr. Sarno’s approach.

Dr. Sarno discovered a place in the back where blood flow will restrict and cause horrible pain. This is a coping mechanism the body performs, a way of storing emotional pain without creating permanent nerve damage. This pain is a gift from G-d, telling us that something is wrong and that we must act. With nerve damage, a person cannot detect when something is wrong.

Before trying this, first rule out any real medical problem. It was when all else failed that Dr. Sarno realized there was an emotional component.

To handle painful emotions, you can try something similar to acupuncture, which works by releasing the negative energy stored in the body. This method can be done anytime and anywhere (assuming you don’t mind looking a little off).

EFT (emotional freedom technique), also known as tapping, is when we tap on pressure points in our body. Repeat the words of emotional pain while tapping. This lets all negative emotions surface, process and eventually dissipate. Some clinicians explain this as “feel, deal, heal.”

I tell my clients that the day after tapping may be the worst day of their lives, but that means they’re on the upswing. You have now let yourself feel pain to let it go. Perl Abramowitz explained that pain is like a “U” shape; in order to start heading up, you need to reach the bottom.

Back to our relatable, out-of-control mom.

First, we can try to take a step back from the pain by identifying it. You can say, “I notice that I am feeling angry, frustrated, resentful.” This ‘noticing’ helps some people remove themselves a bit from their feelings.

Once you let yourself express your negative emotions, you might find you have a deluge of bad feelings. Go for it…. lean into that pain.

Start tapping on pressure points. Some people can’t speak; they just make noises. Let it out. You are allowed to feel emotional pain.

When you are ready, you can identify how you wish you felt. The more you do this, the better you feel. Keep going.

Don’t worry if you look like you’re having an attack. Dr. Sarno worked with many rape victims who never discussed their suffering before. They didn’t realize that the trauma was partially trapped in their bodies, causing continuous pain even though the memory was stored away. When they finally processed their emotions, they were healed from their back pain.

For many people, feelings are too heavy and too scary to confront. We are seeing the collateral damage of that avoidance now, and we can break that pattern. Our emotions are there to help us!

Tapping is an incredibly powerful tool that can be done on your own. Strong feelings don’t go away when we pretend they aren’t there. When you allow yourself to feel and process your emotions, food may start to lose some of its power.

Gila Glassberg is a master’s level registered dietitian and a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. As a teenager, she was faced with constant diet talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food, which led to years of struggling with disordered eating. This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She now uses a non-diet, weight-neutral approach called Intuitive Eating to help her clients all over the world. She works with clients individually, in a group setting and gives live workshops. She helps growth oriented women break out of chronic dieting, and regain clarity into what is really important to them.


You can find more of Gila’s interviews, blog posts and information on her website at www.gilaglassberg.com. Follow her on instagram @gila.glassberg.intuitiveRD. Contact her at [email protected] or www.gilaglassberg.com. Check out her Podcast Get INTUIT with Gila.

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