Help For Emotional Eating
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Help For Emotional Eating Transcript:
Kristina: Welcome, parents. Today we’re going to talk about emotional eating. I have a special guest today. Her name is Melissa Rohlfs, and she is a life coach that helps women break free of sugar and emotional stress, and stress eating. I’m really excited to have her on to give us some great tips today. But most importantly, Melissa is a mom of two kids herself. Thank you for being on today with me, Melissa.
Melissa: Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here, Kristina.
Kristina: Melissa, my first question is, so much of our eating habits get formed when we are young in our childhood. So was there a lot of sugar in your house when you were growing up?
Melissa: There was! I have fond memories of going to my grandparents’ house with my mom, and the first thing we would do when we would walk in that back door, Kristina, is would go right for the cookies. There was always a drawer of cookies. So, yeah, absolutely. This bad habit was modeled.
Kristina: Yeah, It was the same with my family. At grandma’s house, we always had candy there. My mom loved her desserts too. It is kind of funny but, I was told to just eat breakfast growing up. It didn’t matter what I ate, so I would have pumpkin pie for breakfast. Not the best role modeling, but it was tasty, and I turned out fine, I suppose. Tell me more about how you changed your relationship with food and how sugar has impacted your other areas of life.
Melissa: I think it’s made me a more calm mom, to be honest with you. There is a really profound effect that sugar has on our body, mental health, physical health, and emotional health. It used to make me anxious and almost angry. So, for me, reducing it (I’m not entirely sugar-free) but reducing it has really made me calmer. It’s made me more confident, and it’s helped me be better in control of my emotions. I definitely don’t feel like I need the sugar to get through the day to survive anymore. When my kids were little, I often felt that way. I was just exhausted and running on fumes and using the sugar to really get through the day. Thankfully I’m not there anymore, so it’s really changed so many things in my life.
Kristina: That’s good. So, making the shift for you really was super beneficial?
Melissa: Absolutely! For everybody around me. I think as moms, we have such a powerful impact on our families. For me, when I changed that for myself, my husband saw the benefit too. He changed, and we wanted that for our kids as well. I think this is really exciting because when I was their age, I had no concept.
Kristina: Tell me a little bit about your experience with emotional eating.
Melissa: I used foods, specifically sugar, to press down the feelings. I didn’t know what to do with Kristina because I was overwhelmed. I was exhausted. I was anxious. I was angry. I think motherhood brought many emotions that I wasn’t prepared for, so I didn’t know what to do because I felt guilty that I felt this way. I think people turn to food, either to feel better or stuff the feelings. Some people look for happy memories in their food. But for me, my goal was to push the feelings down, and that doesn’t work.
Kristina: I tend to eat when I’m bored. Tell me I’m not an anomaly.
Melissa: No, you’re not an anomaly at all. In fact, a lot of people eat when they’re bored. Yeah, it’s very, very common.
Kristina: It’s more than just something to do. It makes me feel better because I’m bored, and I just don’t like feeling bored. Are there certain times in people’s lives you see more emotional eating?
Melissa: COVID when it first hit! Also, being a new mom and feeling really overwhelmed. Transition times too. Times we don’t know how to handle or how to navigate. People use food to self-medicate or soothe. It can really just be a lot of different things.
Kristina: Do you do help women limit sugars that aren’t common too? For example- sugars in wines or sodas?
Melissa: It’s all of it because sugars are in everything. Even some ketchup has sugar! It is very sneaky. There’s a lot of places you wouldn’t suspect sugar to be hiding, and it is. I do a lot of education on names for sugar. Just because the label doesn’t say, sugar doesn’t mean that it’s not sugar. It’s really important to know the different sugar names.
Kristina: So that brings me to this question, What tips do you have for someone who might be in this position and needs help?
Melissa: I think the best thing to do is to get curious. We can be really hard on ourselves, especially as women. So maybe if you could just take away that judgment and get curious and ask yourself, why am I going towards the sugar? Why am I eating right now? Am I hungry- is a really powerful question. And if the answer’s no, then you’re probably emotional eating. Replacing judgment with curiosity is really powerful. Asking yourself, Am I hungry? Also, become a label reader. Learn how to read the ingredients on the food label, not just the numbers but the actual ingredients. Watch how foods affect you because we’re all different. One size doesn’t fit all. Be mindful of how certain ingredients and certain foods affect you because they could be different for everybody.
Kristina: What I’m hearing you say is that it might be helpful to keep a journal. I’m going to be really honest here and say I can’t read labels. Those big words on the back of boxes drive me crazy. They’re really confusing, and I just don’t have a lot of interest in learning how to read labels. I’m a single mom of four kids. Reading labels and learning how to do that is not on the top priority list. With that in mind, for somebody who’s like me, What am I looking for in terms of red flags?
Melissa: That’s a really great question. I think the basic premise with label reading is to keep it shorter. Fewer ingredients are better, and you want the ingredients that look familiar. If it’s a word you can’t pronounce, or if it’s got 29 syllables and you don’t know where it came from, it is probably not the best thing for you. I love the idea you said of journaling. Maybe if you don’t want to read the labels,- journal! Keep track of mood, energy, and get aware of how certain foods impact you.
Kristina: Tell me about your personal journey with food. How did this come about?
Melissa: We had a newborn baby who wasn’t sleeping. We had a two-year-old who had some undiagnosed food allergies and some sensory challenges. My husband was traveling for work, and I had just been newly diagnosed with PTSD from childhood trauma. So I went the holistic approach and really learned about supplementation and the impact of food on mood and health. We overhauled our food, the way that we ate, and it was such a game-changer! I knew I had to help other people too. I didn’t know how good I could feel!
Kristina: One last question. If somebody’s listening to this right now and they think they might be an emotional eater but not quite sure- what are some signs they might look for?
Melissa: If they find themselves grazing, you might be looking for something. Ask yourself, what am I looking for? Am I eating for nourishment and fuel for my body? Or not?
Kristina: If people want to get a hold of you to get Help For Emotional Eating, how would they do that?
Melissa: You can find me at my website, which is www.free2bcoaching.com
Kristina: Thank you so much for being here today. I’m sure there are so many moms out there who gained weight during COVID and need to kick our COVID bad habits and start living more healthier lives so we could be better parents!