How Finally Stopping Over-Eating Affects Other Aspects of Your Life

When I became hyper-aware of what I was eating, when, and why, I experienced a LOT of emotions.

I had always known I was an emotional eater, but I never realized to what extent. 

When I thought about emotional eating, I thought about the times I dove into a tub of Ben & Jerry’s after a breakup or the day after the 2016 presidential election when I called out of work and ate an entire bag of bite-sized Snickers.

What I didn’t realize was that it had become a daily occurrence as a way to distract myself from feeling normal every-day emotions like boredom

Having been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder means that there’s always a baseline of anxious and repetitive thinking going on.

Once I started looking at the clock when I started getting hungry to monitor whether I was hungry, bored, avoiding a task, or avoiding a feeling—rather than immediately reaching for a snack—I began realizing how much of those hunger pangs were false alarms for emotional needs.

If it had only been two hours after a meal, I learned how to tune into my emotional state and address THAT need instead. If I was bored, I switched gears at work or started a new project. If I was avoiding chores, I either got to work or actively decided to ignore them.

I learned to say to myself, “This is just an emotion and this alone can’t hurt you.”

The result is that I grew familiar with discomfort. I started to truly feel my emotions and learn that power exists in the ability to be truly present in negative feelings. I was numbing myself to the world with food. Why? Because I was afraid to feel bored, worried, annoyed?

Talk about silly!

And now I’ve started seeing improvements in other areas of my life where emotions have kept me from having fuller experiences.

My main example has been bouldering. While I’ve climbed top rope for about three years now, I only started bouldering about half that time. It’s a completely different game for me.

While the walls are much lower at 10-15 feet, I don’t have the safety net of a rope and a partner to catch me if I call. All I have is a fat mat 10-15 feet below me and muscle memory on how to fall the right way.

Fear has held me back from advancing. Despite climbing more confidently in top rope, I hit a mental wall with bouldering. I held myself back from going for moves because I was afraid I would fall or that my grip would give out.

But because I’ve been practicing the ability to sit in discomfort and know that emotions alone can’t hurt me, feeling fear on the bouldering wall hasn’t hindered me nearly as much.

I find myself going through the same steps as I do when I feel any negative emotion. I tell myself, “It’s OK to feel fear, but the emotion can’t hurt you. Take a breath and make one more move and then you can stop.”

Turns out, if you say that enough times, you’ll eventually send the climb.

I’ve still had plenty of points when I drop down early or don’t make a move I know I could if I were tied into a rope, but the point is that those moments are slowly becoming a rarity.

It’s incredible how richer life gets when you learn to sit with your discomfort.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid to feel?

Jessie Da Silva

Craving more from your life & career?
I can help.

After a decade and five career changes, I've become an expert in the job hunt, started an online-based company, and built up the confidence to defy the expectations of others to follow my true calling. And now I'm ready to teach you to do that, too.

Jessie Da Silva

Free Networking Tracker & Guide
Did you know you can network via email? Well, now you do! Download this guide and tracker to help you get a foot in the door at your next workplace.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

YOU might also like

Why You Can’t Let Fear Keep You Small in a Job Interview

When Natalie* came to me, she had been doing contract legal work for about a year. It was far, far removed from the goals she set for herself when graduating law school. Because of that, her circumstances had given her self-esteem a walloping. But never fear! Hers is...

How to Get Over a Breakup (Like a Serial Monogamist)

A solid almost 15 years of serial monogamy gave me plenty of helpful lessons—how to spot red flags, emotional vampires, men who don't pull their weight, etc. The best among those lessons? How to get over the worst part of a breakup. No matter which way you slice it,...

Why Getting Fired is the Best Thing That Can Happen to You

This might sound like a controversial opinion, but I swear to you it's true: Getting fired is a good thing! It's not just a good thing that can happen to you—it's the BEST thing that can happen to you. You might be thinking, "Jessie, that sounds a little extreme....
Preview of a bowl of ramen

How to Make It: Better-than-Takeout, Slow Cooker Ramen

We are big-time ramen eaters in this house. Living in D.C. means we have access to so many delicious options like Daikaya, Bantam King, Jinya Ramen Bar, and Reren DC—just to name a few (there are more and we've gone there, too, but these are my favs). But enjoying...
Picture of an un-blended matcha latte next to a packet of brain octane oil with the words "Bulletproof Matcha Latte" imposed over it.

How to Make It: Vegan Bulletproof Matcha Latte Recipe

It's a sad fact that after my elimination diet, I realized I couldn't have coffee. Very sad. My Puerto Rican/Portuguese ass formerly joked that my blood type was Café Bustelo. But that threw a wrench into my nutrition, as I always started my morning with some...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This