Most people don’t realize that emotional eating and emotional spending are really the same problem. I have seen this play out many times in my practice. A client comes in for emotional eating yet also complaining of money problems. When asked, they tell me they are afraid for their financial health as well because they keep buying things as well as binge eating. Sometimes at that same time! Food courts at the malls are great, aren’t they?
Often when someone who emotionally spends and emotionally eats (and trust me those two almost always go together) goes on a diet, their emotional spender goes to the mall and they find themselves binge shopping because their binge eater is on a “diet.” IT cuts both ways. When a person goes on a budget, their emotional eater goes to In-and-out Burger for fries and a shake. And let’s face it, food is cheap, so budget ends up being a huge problem for your body.
Sounds awful, right? And doesn’t it make you weary of working on either? You don’t want to get fat going on a budget or go into bankruptcy because you are on a diet. Many people don’t take it to that extreme but almost every emotional eater I have worked with also has money issues. And here’s why.
They both have the same root causes: unmet emotional needs and stress. Basically, you try to change the way you feel by eating or shopping—often both.
So how do I fix this without side effects?
Just knowing that’s what you are doing is a big part of this. It’s hard to fool yourself into thinking you really need a new pair of shoes when you know this is about your visit to a Weight Watchers meeting. The real key is to learn from your cravings what your unmet needs are and meet them in a different, healthier way.
Despite what some people say, I really don’t see a correlation between sweet, salty, savory, or any other kinds of foods and emotions. Boredom seems to cause cravings that vary from person to person, from day to day. Shopping, however, is easier.
If a person finds themselves on the REI website shopping for tents when they already have two, it’s a safe bet what they really want is adventure. The solution? Don’t buy the tent but do book a campsite somewhere.
If you are shopping for lingerie, you are likely craving intimacy or connection. If you are shopping for makeup, it may mean you are feeling insecure and working on your inner self-confidence and self-love is what you really need.
Know this, no makeup in the world is going to make you feel good about yourself if on a core level you don’t. You need to heal the part of you that lacks confidence. No lingerie is going to fix a relationship that is broken, though I admit, it could help; it may be time to talk to a marriage counseling. No vacation in the Bahamas is going to make your boss any less of a jerk; it may be time to look for another job or even better, start a business.
I always tell people weight gain is not a problem, it’s a symptom of a problem, and when you do the deeper work of healing the “why’s” of your emotional eating and your emotional spending, you may just find yourself thinner and richer.
No matter what, if you are doing either or both of these behaviors the key is to pay attention to them and work on finding healthier ways to heal.
If you need help with this issue, I created a series of weight-loss programs designed to help you heal your emotional eater and create healthy habits for yourself. You can find these by visiting my online learning website at https://soulconnecthypnotherapy.thinkific.com/.
Love yourself enough to do the deeper and harder work of healing.
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