Picture this: It’s a cold Bay Area day. I’m sitting down on a recliner in front of a television. The doorbell rings with the pepperoni pizza and red wine I ordered. It’s a cold late afternoon, and I’m wrapped in a blanket as I turn on the television to binge watch “Blackish” episodes. I turn on the first season and after a few hours the pizza was gone and I felt completely empty as I savored my 2nd glass of wine.
Photo Credit: Mangia Brick Oven Pizza
That was November of 2017 and towards the end of our 3rd year of going through the housing instability that many people have endured here in the Bay Area. Someone I knew offered “free” housing to my Son and me so that I could save money to gain stability.
The person and I had two very different temperaments. My son and I quiet, the housemate yelled. She yelled at her child, she yelled at her partner. There was always drama and I felt miserable.
I had been sending out multiple resumes for years, looking for work. I worked my business as much as I could, but the stress was getting to me. I considered leaving the state, but would likely have to leave my son, which was not in his best interest according to a few professionals. Plus, my heart wouldn’t allow me to leave.
For over 10 years now I’ve had a pretty clean way of eating. My eating plan included plenty of raw veggies, all organic, free range meats, plenty of filtered water and organic teas. I also allowed myself an occasional cheat day, once a week to satisfy a few cravings. I noticed around this time that I started cooking more “Ancestral Foods,” comfort foods from my childhood. I would make them “healthy,” by using coconut oil, coconut sugar, and all organic, but I recognized that I was eating this way because I felt miserable. I was slowly inching into eating to satisfy my emotions.
The pizza was a true wake up call. I sat in a chair, watched the entire 1st and half the 2nd season of Blackish while I finished a whole medium sized pepperoni pizza. I only drank 2 glasses of wine fortunately, but that’s not my go-to in times of stress.
Now why would I, a Holistic Nutrition Educator and Tea Maker admit to that? Why would I admit to binge eating pizza while watching TV? It’s all about transparency, I have faults and triggers just like everyone else in this world. I also want you to know that if you experience over eating during times of stress, you are absolutely not alone. It can even hit someone who eats “clean” on a regular basis.
Emotional eating plagues many people, women in particular complain about this. I’ve had more conversations lately about how it impacts Black women. I have a strong history of emotional eating which I gained control several years ago. Since studying Holistic Nutrition and beginning work as a Nutrition Educator in 2010, it’s been easy for me to notice my own personal triggers and use my tools to address the issues. I’ve had support through therapy, energy work, nature and writing to name a few.
I’ve been stressed in the past, but the tools helped to keep me “sane.” Going through the housing instability, living with a person who’s mood swings made me feel like I had to walk on eggshells, while dealing with a person who frequently sent me insulting text messages was too much. That November afternoon I reached a tipping point and all I could do was sit and eat, and it wasn’t until afterwards that I realized what I had done.
What was key however, was the forgiveness. I looked at the empty pizza box, corked the wine, and forgave myself. I gave the gift to myself that I offered many of my clients in the past. I said to myself, “Well Tara, did you enjoy it?” “Yes!” “How did it feel?” “It felt good.” “Do you want to do that again?” “No!” “Why not?” “Cause I know it’s not good for my body?” I then went over my tools and picked the right one.
I ended the day with completing the 2nd season of Blackish, wrote in my journal, and went to sleep around 9pm that night. As the days continued I engaged in radical self-care every moment I could, whether my child was home with me or not. I told him there were times Mommy needed to sit in quiet, or we had to go to the beach even if he didn’t feel like it. I didn’t need to tell him anything about “Emotional Eating.” I just told him that “Mommy matters and sometimes we have to do what I wanna do.” I’ve told him this since he was a toddler.
Emotional eating is a real issue that is possible to overcome. Like any addiction it takes work, how much depends on you. You can shift your eating habits, however will that help to address the root cause of the issue? It’s something to think about.
I do work with women who experience “over eating,” whether or not they want to call it “emotional eating.” I have a history in the mental health profession along with training in nutrition. Whether you reach out to me, a therapist, or another competent healthcare practitioner, it’s important to reach out. There are several modalities that can help support you in achieving your goals and releasing the hold this may have on your life.
If you have any questions or would like to set up a complimentary no-pressure consultation, please email me at email@example.com. Till then, I wish you the best.