Fieldstone counselor, Brandi Yackee
We have arrived at the time of the year when many of us are thinking about holiday gatherings and looking forward to time away from work to gather with friends and family. While the season provides special opportunities to celebrate with those we love, it also represents a variety of difficulties for many of us. We may find ourselves navigating fresh waves of grief, anxiety, anger, or depression. For many around the world, this is a time when we remember the birth of our Savior and celebrate the gift of salvation. Throughout the seasonal festivities, we are surrounded by rich foods such as turkey, ham, potatoes (cheesy or mashed!), sweet potatoes, pies, and cookies. Indeed, this is good, and the Lord invites us to enjoy the food he provides (Ecclesiastes 2:24). We ought to enjoy the celebrations, and the food that comes along with them. For some, though, the added emphasis on lavish spreads and abundant varieties of food while facing our own inner struggles with eating can create another layer of complexity.
When we face anxiety, depression, or grief during the holiday season, how do we address the often-accompanying dynamic of emotional eating? If we find that we "eat our emotions away" during this time of the year, we may approach January with strict weight loss goals, or a heightened regimine of physical exercise evidenced by new gym memberships. We might turn to emotional eating because we don't want, or don’t know how, to think about our emotions. Perhaps we don’t want to engage with the uncomfortable feelings that surface, especially around the holidays. Many of us struggle to identify the reasons behind our emotional eating. The enemy wants us to stay there and buy into the lie that there is no way out of the never-ending cycle surrounding our relationship with food. Food is one of those tricky areas because we were designed to need it for survival, and we are also called to enjoy what the Lord has given to us as part of his creation.
While we recognize that food is both necessary and good, if it becomes our go-to resource when faced with difficult emotions, we can end up spiraling into a place of shame or despair. How do we find a better way to engage the emotions of this season rather than being hyper-focused on the food in front of us? One way is to acknowledge when an issue rises within us that needs to be addressed, whether it's grief, anxiety, anger, or depression. How we deal with emotions is vital to every aspect of life. If we process this with a counselor or a close friend, it's important to address why we might feel the way we do. What is the underlying reason behind finding comfort in food? Another concern is whether we have created patterns of turning to food instead of dealing with our emotions. We can ask ourselves: Do I turn to the Lord and seek his guidance in this area of my life, or do I try to do things on my own? When it comes down to it, no matter if the struggle is addictive patterns toward food, exercise, or anything else, freedom comes when we acknowledge our identity in Christ. When we remember that our identity is established first in him, then we can access the power we need to face whatever distressing emotions that may surface during this season. He will meet us right where we are, with sustenance that fills beyond our greatest need and our most pressing desires (John 4:32-34).
If this post has been helpful to you and you would like to hear more and dig deeper... We invite you to join us at an upcoming event at Fieldstone! Details can be found below.
Women’s event & support group at Fieldstone Counseling
Have you ever described yourself as an emotional or stress eater? Have you felt guilt or shame around your eating habits - causing you to feel less connected to God when you “give in” to your cravings? Are you ready to finally break free from this pattern?! The good news is you aren’t alone and there is a way out.
Join Fieldstone Counselor, Brandi Yackee and Andrea Anderson, Certified Life + Health Coach in this two-hour workshop on January 18, 2023 (7:00-9:00 pm) to discover:
- The primary thing keeping you stuck in an emotional eating pattern
- The cycle of how your emotions can impact your relationship with food and how your food choices fuel your emotions
- The spiritual battle of an emotional eating pattern
- Simple strategies you can start implementing immediately to overcome emotional eating habits.
For women desiring additional hands-on support and accountability in overcoming emotional eating, we will also be offering a six-week support group called From Emotional to God-powered Eating | The Support Group. The support group begins on February 1, 2023 and meets weekly on Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm-8:00pm. Registration for this group will be made available at the seminar and online on Jan. 18th.
PLUS - women who attend the seminar will be given a special discount if they decide to then join the support group.
Brandi has been a counselor for 5 years. She enjoys seeing and helping women and teenage girls in their struggles.