For as long as I can remember, I've struggled with emotional eating. It started when I was an angsty teenager who was bullied incessantly at school, but it continued well into my adult years. I've experienced many mornings when I wake up feeling immensely guilty for all the binge-eating I did the night before. This is an extremely common battle among many women across the country, and you'll find a variety of different advice online that is supposed to help you stop binging.
We're encouraged to journal how we feel, identify our triggers, and answer cravings when they arise rather than ignore them altogether. In many cases, you'll hear that moderation is the name of the game. My battle against binge-eating had nothing to do with any of that advice, though. The only thing that stopped me from emotional eating was logging every single thing I ate into my phone and putting myself on a strict diet.
Although journaling is something I like to do in my everyday life, it didn't help me at all when I felt like binge-eating. Even if I sat down and wrote out my feelings, meditated, and did breathing exercises, I still managed to convince myself that a small handful of trail mix wasn't going to do any harm. Then that small handful turned into finishing a whole bag or, worse, polishing off a tub of ice cream. As healthy as it is to identify your emotional struggles in a calm setting, it wasn't a useful tool for me.
When I started tracking everything I ate, though, I began to get a realistic sense of what I was actually putting in my body. For the first time I could see how much protein, carbs, and fat I was consuming — and I couldn't lie to myself anymore. The proof was sitting there on my macro-counting app, staring back at me. It was the accountability I needed to think critically about what I was eating.
But that wasn't all. I additionally gave up on the chase after moderation. I'm simply not one of those people who can just have a few potato chips or two cookies and then call it a day, particularly when I'm feeling emotional. So instead of trying to limit myself to a small portion, I gave up refined sugar and junk food altogether. Instead, I opted for fresh fruit or homemade plant-based treats.
Keeping track of everything I ate became the cornerstone of my fight against binge-eating. It allowed me to be entirely honest with myself, which gave me the confidence I needed to instill healthy habits and kick emotional eating to the curb once and for all.