When I was a freshman in college, I lost my first love. We were together for two years, grew up together, and I naively thought he was the one. He was such a sweet boy, but that's just it. To this day, I see him as the boy from my childhood. I was devastated. I went on a roller coaster of not eating, then eating solely junk food, to not eating again. This went on for months after.
Then when I was a sophomore in college, I was with an emotionally abusive boyfriend for far too long. I didn't see an escape, or know how to handle being anywhere near him. I turned to food to comfort myself in the good times, the bad times, and drank every other time. I lived off of Domino's, Jimmy John's, and PBR.
College graduation and real life came around. I broke up with my final college boyfriend, spent the summer having the time of my life with my friends, and "met" the love of my life. Justin is the perfect compliment to my soul, and I love him dearly. When I wasn't with him, I was lonely and bored. Guess what I did? I ate my feelings.
Good days? I ate junk food. Bad days? Obviously ice cream will fix it right? I used food to comfort me and fill a hole in my heart I didn't even know was there. The hole that was missing was love for myself. I didn't love myself, respect myself, or even know how to properly treat myself. I didn't even know that a huge part of my life was MISSING and had been for years.
So. The good part of this story. How I used exercise to overcome the battle I have with emotional eating. First off, I won't lie and say that I have beat my vice of junk food. Heck, last week I went and ate crazy bread because I had a horrible day. Here's the thing, I have more good days now than bad. I count that as a success. It's still a battle for me to decide to lace up my shoes rather than pull out a tub of ice cream. Exercise releases endorphins and dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a happy hormone, that can be released as quickly as a few minutes with vigorous exercise.
Think about how you feel after eating a giant ice cream sundae. Right after eating it, you feel full and satisfied. You are happy with your choice to eat that giant bowl of ice cream! What about the next day? You are probably sluggish from the high sugar intake. You might have a headache and spend the next day lazy on the couch or napping. What about after exercising? Chances are you picked a form of exercise you LOVE, so you feel happy with your choices. You feel accomplished at completing the workout. You are going to have increased energy levels, increased dopamine levels, and sleep like a baby. You will wake up feeling invigorated, probably a little sore, and wanting to feel that accomplished again.
Exercise is chemically good for you. It triggers our bodies to function at higher levels, and overall is just plain good for us. So HOW did I use exercise to overcome emotional eating? When I want to chow down on junk food, I think of how shitty I will feel the next day. Then I think of how great I sleep, and how invigorated I wake up the next day instead of barely being able to roll out of bed. Some days, it's a mental game I don't win. Most days, I DO.
If you struggle with emotional eating or overeating, please reach out to me. It's not a battle you have to tackle alone. I am here for you.