Food and Feelings


There is a lot of research that links the food we eat to our various feelings. In this case we are talking about both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ feelings. Most people are not concerned about any linkages between food and any good feelings that are triggered when we eat. We are all concerned about the ‘bad’ feelings! Food and feelings – both the good and the bad!

So what are some of those bad feelings? Guilt, shame, helplessness, anxiety, disappointment, confusion, loneliness, depression, sadness… all are implicated and linked to certain foods.

Karen Konig, author of The Food and Feelings Workbook, understands this issue. In her book she gives an extraordinary, powerful connection exists between feeling and feeding that, if damaged, may lead to one relying on food for emotional support, rather than seeking authentic happiness.

Here is an excerpt of what she says.

“Why won’t bad feelings simply go away?”

“The truth is, there’s actually no such thing as a “bad” feeling. By labeling a feeling negatively, what you mean is that it causes you to feel badly (that is, not pleasurably), or that experiencing it makes you feel as if you’re a bad person. Feelings are feelings, just as colors are colors and musical notes are musical notes (and food is food). Think of affects as clouds that have no intrinsic value; whether you welcome them or not is situation-dependent. A cloud blocks out the sun on a scorcher of a day in the middle of a ten-mile hike and you’re overjoyed for the respite. A cloud comes along while you’re sunbathing and you’re momentarily bummed out. How you feel about the clouds is relative, all in your perspective. The same is true of emotions.

If you’re wondering why feelings that generate discomfort-what you might call “bad” feelings-won’t go and stay away, that’s another question entirely and makes me wonder what you believe about emotions. If you believe you’re always supposed to feel good, then feeling bad is sure to upset your apple cart. You’re not supposed to feel good all the time; it’s simply not possible. You-we all-have a range of emotions that come and go and that’s the way life is supposed to work. If your colleague blames you for something that’s not your fault, you’ll probably feel misunderstood. If you’ve been ignoring your brother for months, you may feel ashamed or guilty; if your best friend steals your girlfriend, you’ll likely feel betrayed; if you didn’t get the job you thought was a shoo-in, there’s a good chance you’ll feel disappointed. In all of these instances, you’ll feel badly. But these feelings do eventually go away. Of course, the problem is that they’ll come back again in another circumstance because that’s the way the emotional ball bounces. We only brush away our feelings if we don’t understand their function and value their purpose-if we forget that they exist, for the most part, to instruct us.

This unique workbook on food and feelings takes on the seven emotions that plague problem eaters — guilt, shame, helplessness, anxiety, disappointment, confusion, and loneliness — and shows readers how to embrace and learn from their feelings. Written with honesty and humor, the food and feelings book explains how to identify and label a specific emotion, the function of that emotion, and why the emotion drives food and eating problems.

Each chapter of The Food and Feelings Workbook has two sets of exercises: experiential exercises that relate to emotions and eating, and questionnaires that provoke thinking about and understanding feelings and their purpose. Supplemental pages help readers identify emotions and chart emotional development.

The final part of the Food and Feelings Workbook focuses on strategies for disconnecting feeling from food, discovering emotional triggers, and using one’s feelings to get what one wants out of life.


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