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My Battle Against Emotional Eating

Written by: Marsha Parcou, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Marsha Parcou

It all began when my older siblings left for Canada when I was about 13 or 14. Their absence left me feeling overwhelmingly lonely. I struggled to cope with my emotions as a teenager, often swinging between happiness and deep sadness, irritability, and anger. I had low self-confidence, harboured self-hatred, and felt pessimistic. Over the years, I allowed myself to remain unhappy and unhealthy, thinking it was a normal part of life. I blamed my family for my unhappiness.


Photo of Marsha in yellow dress

Food became my solace. I developed poor eating habits, seeking comfort in junk food and skipping proper meals. I didn't understand the impact on my body or health, and my parents weren’t knowledgeable about proper nutrition.


Growing up, our family's daily life revolved around food. Meals consisted of bread with margarine, jam, marmite, or peanut butter, along with tea with milk and sugar for breakfast. Lunch and dinner followed a similar pattern: rice with meat or fish, lentils, and minimal salad, always ending with a sweet dessert like "ladob" (banana nougat coco) or ice cream on weekends. I snacked on chocolates, Simba chips, ice cakes, and anything else I could find.My language and interactions with others reflected my belief that everything was working against me. I was unaware of how to manage and control my emotions, which led to further internal struggles.


With that eating pattern ominously, my weight kept piling on. I can say that was a real battle for me mentally, emotionally and physically. I did not like the way I felt which made me feel worse about myself, I had poor body image and zero self-confidence. The more I felt bad about myself I continued to use food to make me feel better especially when I was lonely and going through a difficult time. Food became my companion.

 

Especially when I am stressed, anxious or sad, I use food to make me feel better and for instant gratification. But afterwards, I felt guilty and self-sabotaged. I got into this vicious circle that I could not get myself out of.

 

What triggers me to emotional eating?


In my youth I always had low self-esteem and I never the opportunity to deal with my past and I believe that those emotions kept resurfacing in different areas. I felt rejected, and my body compensated for this by overeating.


There is a link between stress and emotional eating, I usually eat sweet stuff when I am stressed as it gives me that instant relief, although I know that it is not solving my situation.


The other symptoms are.


  • Body Dysmorphia – I worry about my flaws in my appearance.

  • Obesophobia my fear of gaining weight or getting fat.

  • I tend to keep my feelings to myself then end up feeling tormented by my silence and as a result use food as a coping strategy.

 

The changes I made


I made my rules for what I should eat and not eat. My primary rule is to eat only what God made so any processed food is not part of my plan. This rule has brought a positive outcome in my body transformation in terms of my newfound energy, focus and not feeling bloated and sluggish as I used to when I was yo – yo dieting. But the challenge comes when I restrict myself too much in not eating certain food and tend to overeat and binge which leads to guilt, embarrassment and depression at times. In other words, restricting myself can lead me to binge, overindulge and overeat.


Outdoor shot of Marsha near pool

What I have learned on this journey and hope it would help you on your own journey


My need for love and acceptance led me to love and accept myself unconditionally. I don't let my weight, size, past, or mistakes define me. I embrace my identity, feeling youthful, confident, and beautiful inside and out.

 

I learned that there are two main controlling forces behind my behaviour: Pain and pleasure. They are the controlling forces behind my emotions and actions. While sweet foods may bring momentary pleasure, they don't solve my problems.


I learned to have the right balance; that food is not my enemy. I learnt to eat mindfully and enjoy everything in moderation rather than restricting myself.


I learned that progress is more than physical appearance; mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being are equally crucial. I've learned how to pick myself up after failure, recognizing it as part of my journey. I remind myself that I am an imperfect human being, and it is OK to fall…


I learned a great deal about self-discipline, which helps me focus on tasks, persevere, and achieve my goals and remain consistent on my path.


My main lesson I've become more compassionate towards myself, avoiding self-sabotage and excessive exercise out of guilt. I've accepted life's ups and downs, realizing I can manage my emotions without turning to food or lashing out at others."


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and visit my website for more info!


Marsha Parcou Brainz Magazine
 

Marsha Parcou, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Marsha Parcou is an entrepreneur, based in the Seychelles Islands, on a mission to empower corporate teams and employees to find confidence in themselves and maximize their wellness and productivity.

As the founder and figurehead of Fasinasyon, she runs a multi-faceted lifestyle brand that promotes a healthy and holistic approach to the body, mind, and soul through a range of services, from corporate and life coaching to beauty and skincare products. Accredited by the Health Coach Institute, USA, she coaches using International Coach Federation (ICF) tools and exercises whilst delivering her own unique framework for personal and team transformation.

Marsha is also an accomplished public speaker, she has been interviewed on SBC, Paradise FM and TeleSecel. She also recently held an event to celebrate the launch of her debut book 'Becoming A Famn Fasinasyon'.

Alongside her work within the wellness industry, she is also the co-founder and part owner of Chatterbox Café located at Eden Plaza, the famed first ever 'coffee shop' on Mahe Island, Seychelles. Previously to owning and operating her businesses, Marsha has 10 years’ experience in tourism marketing management having worked for Seychelles Tourism (then known as the Seychelles Tourism Board).

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