One of the biggest triggers for emotional eating is anger. Eating when we’re angry, frustrated, irritated, feeling like we’ve been treated unfairly—we may call it different names, but these words usually boil down to feeling angry. Anger, and the conflict that often accompanies it, makes many people—especially women—uncomfortable. Many of us go to great lengths to avoid expressing our anger directly. Even when we’ve learned to face the conflicts and the sticky situations head-on in professional settings, we may still shy away from addressing our anger in our personal lives.
Want to know what many of us do with anger? We swallow it. Literally.
Many women who feel strong and competent in other areas of their lives, feel so uncomfortable with anger and frustration that they turn to food to avoid it, change it, bury it, or sometimes even turn the anger on themselves.
One of my clients said it beautifully. She told me, “I don’t like anger and it makes me uncomfortable. When I get angry with someone I eat at them.” Then she laughed. “Fat lot of good it does me.” Exactly.
Taking control of emotional eating isn’t just about food. In fact, sometimes it’s hardly about food. It’s about taking on challenging issues and learning to cope with them differently and directly. That’s one of the reasons that taking charge of emotional eating is so empowering. Taking charge of emotional eating transforms you.
I talk quite a bit about how struggles with food and weight hold many successful women back. This is another important example. If we aren’t comfortable standing tall and facing conflict head-on and if we don’t have the tools to deal with anger in an effective manner that reflects our best selves, we’re not fully in the game. It’s not about choosing different foods to eat, it’s about learning the tools and strategies that help you move beyond emotional eating and dieting by approaching the rest of your life more effectively.
What do you think? Is anger an emotional eating trigger for you? Do you speak your mind or eat at people?