Emotional eating connected to procrastination has become very prevalent. Together these intertwining habits create short-term relief and long-term misery. Do you ever use eating to procrastinate? If so, have you considered that it is a form of emotional eating self-sabotage? Here’s a classic story as relayed by my client Julie.
Julie has a huge pile of reports to write for her job as a middle school teacher. As much as she loves teaching, she finds writing reports really tedious. She postpones and postpones the task. As the deadline approaches, she finally sits down at her kitchen table to get to work. Almost on autopilot, she is up out of her chair, hunting around in the pantry for something to eat. She’s not hungry, but she finds herself eating crackers as she postpones getting to work on her reports. In a short while she’s demolished the entire box of crackers but still hasn’t started her work.
A frustrating habit
Emotional eating to procrastinate has become commonplace in our food-abundant society. What makes this habit so frustrating is that is not only keeps us from completing the task we are avoiding, but also fills us with unwanted extra calories. The end result is that we feel fairly miserable about ourselves when we chronically procrastinate and accumulate extra pounds!
Emotional eating to procrastinate is all about control
Procrastination is all wrapped up in our relationship with control. We want to feel strong and “in control” and we want others to perceive us that way. However, we also feel that others hold all the power and other people are calling all the shots. We resent the expectations of other people and we rebel against the pressure that’s being put on us by others. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by these demands and we respond by feeling helpless and unable to make a decision. Or we might respond with a little rebellion or a little aggression, as we resist bending to the will of other people.
When we are caught in the emotional conflict about doing the unwanted task or not, our inner critic speaks to us, often in a loud and bullying voice, and talks us into skipping out on our responsibilities and heading to the pantry. Emotional eating is the quick, easy and automatic response to this conflict.
Once we become aware of how our relationship to control can whiplash us around, we can become more aware of what’s driving our procrastination. Once we learn that, we can respond appropriately to our desire to procrastinate. Rather than strengthening it with eating, we can learn how to diminish it. As our self-regulation improves so does our self-esteem. A win-win all the way around.
Is this your issue?
Do you ever eat to procrastinate? Are you aware of how control works for you or against you? Is your inner critic playing too much of a role in your life? If you would like to dig deeper, come to my website and look for my free 3-Lesson email course.