Do you ever eat because you’re lonely?

lonely man on the bench autumn, winterMy client told me that she ate three chocolate bars because she was lonely.
I asked her why she was feeling lonely.
She told me that her husband was out of town, and had been travelling quite a bit lately.

I asked her, again, why she was feeling lonely,
and she told me that her kids were in their rooms doing their own thing
and she was alone.

I asked her if she ever felt lonely when she was with her husband,
or other people,
and she said yes.

Silence.
Lightbulb moment.

If we can feel lonely when we’re with our husband
and we can feel lonely when we’re alone
then our husband’s absence is not the cause of the loneliness.

I spent most days alone, working in my house,
and I can’t remember the last time I felt lonely.
That’s because I am (mostly) fully present for myself,
and interested and engaged with what I’m thinking and feeling (most of the time).

I explained to my client that the reason she was feeling lonely is that she had left herself.
She immediately agreed, and said “I ate the chocolates because I wanted to tune out.”

Well.
When we want to tune out from our own self
Then it’s likely that we’ll feel lonely wherever we are.

The answer is not to ask your husband to stop travelling,
Or to make dinner dates with your friends when he is.
(Nothing wrong with dinner dates with friends of course!)
You can do both of those things if it feels good to you to do so,
but it won’t solve your inherent loneliness.

The key to alleviating your feelings of loneliness is to stay tuned in.
Notice that you feel empty,
notice how that expresses itself in your body,
notice your urge to cover it up with food
and, if you’re willing to stay present and connected to yourself,
notice that the loneliness passes.

And you’re still there.
With you. Alone. And not lonely.

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About Forever Free with Bev Aron, Certified Weight Loss Coach

I work with emotional eaters who desperately want relief from emotional eating, but can't seem to do it on their own. They know they need to eat less and move more, but can't figure out why they aren't doing it. My specialty is showing them the why and the how. I also work with parents who are worried about their children's weight. I help those parents encourage their children to have a healthy body image and a healthy relationship with food.
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