Jun 28, 2012
Using food as a reward is a common theme for emotional eaters. On the flip side, however, people also overeat as a form of punishment. Using food, whether as a source of comfort or as a hostile act towards yourself or others, is still emotional eating.
Do you eat to hurt yourself?
Many overeaters have reported that they ate to punish themselves. It was an act of self-hatred. "I found myself eating ten Twix bars because I hated myself so much and it was a way to get back at myself," someone once shared. Food, especially in excessive quantities, can hurt us. No different than the person that cuts themselves, binging can be a way for overeaters to inflict pain upon themselves.
Are you punishing anyone in your life by overeating or staying overweight?
Another common theme is overeaters who eat to prove (usually to a parent or a spouse) that they can't be controlled. One man who had harbored a long-standing resentment towards his wife made sure that he didn't lose the weight she wanted him to lose-by eating an ice-cream sundae every night on his way home from work.
It is normal to resist being dominated by another person, but it doesn't really make sense for overeaters to put their own health in jeopardy out of spite.
Are you fed up with a society that expects you to be too thin and toned?
In a more global way, perhaps our overeating and obesity epidemic is a grand scale way of punishing a society that expects us to be perfect. Overeaters may get so down on themselves, believing that they'll never live up to the ideal, that they abandon all effort entirely.
If you are using food as a form of punishment, you may want to ask yourself why. Is it really getting you the result you want? Not just in terms of how your body looks and feels, but is it getting you the love and acceptance you want from a partner or parent or even yourself?
We all deserve to eat well, feel good and have fulfilling relationships. Overeating as a form of punishment, and/or reward, is not a recipe for a healthy and happy lifestyle.
Do you use food as a form of punishment?