If Emotional Eating is holding you back from reaching your weight loss goals OR keeping the weight off, I’ve come up with five tools to put an end to emotional eating for good. Following these steps WILL take practice and a little bravery, but, if you follow them not only will you stop eating emotionally, but you’ll also learn to start enjoying your food – and your life – in a whole new way.
- Don’t abandon yourself.
Emotional eating provides a release from discomfort, providing a short-term sense of pleasure and satisfaction when you’re feeling something you don’t want to feel. Overeating has a numbing, softening effect on our unwanted emotions, and takes our attention away from them. The key to ending this pattern is to not abandon yourself when your emotions go haywire, but instead to invite them in and allow yourself to observe them with curiosity.
Tell yourself that it’s OK to feel sad, mad, scared, tired — you name it. Welcome your negative emotions with kindness and curiosity, and ask them what they want from you. This includes those intense feelings of guilt or anger that tend to follow an emotional eating episode. Approach your feelings with kindness, and your body will begin to understand that it no longer has to overeat to protect you from your feelings. Plus, through listening to your emotions, you’ll discover what it is you truly want, allowing you to create new strategies for deeper satisfaction.
- Maintain the pleasure principle.
Make pleasure a priority in your life! Flavour your water with fruit, wear soft, comfortable clothes, take pride in your underwear! Treat yourself with respect and allow your body other ways to experience feeling good, aside from eating. If you do find yourself in the middle of a binge, try allowing yourself to fully enjoy it. Sit down and savour every single bite. The more focused you are on how good it feels to eat, the harder it will be to eat to the point of pain. Often, emotional eating is just our body’s way of trying to experience pleasure.
- Eat only when you’re actually hungry.
Emotional eaters tend to not eat when they’re actually hungry, which only makes them want to eat a lot more later. For every diet, there’s an equal and opposite binge. So instead, eat real, healthy, and nourishing foods whenever you experience physical hunger. Doing so will teach your body that you are not in what we call “starvation mode.” You become very efficient at storing fat and you lose the ability to burn it. This means that eating when you’re hungry will not only make you less inclined to binge, but it will also tell your body that it’s safe to lose weight.
- Prepare for your next binge by knowing your triggers.
Discover your triggers and plan ahead. If you know you eat when you’re lonely, plan to connect with a friend or try journaling instead. When your thoughts are on paper and not occupying your mind, they are less intimidating. Also, always carry food with you so that you never feel deprived. Emotional eating can be your body’s reaction to feeling deprived, so create new ways to nourish yourself. Stock your fridge with healthy foods, pack your calendar with exciting things to do, and be disciplined about setting aside time for YOU
- Wake up to your own beauty.
If you knew how beautiful you were, you wouldn’t deny yourself food to try to change yourself. You also wouldn’t emotionally eat as a release, because there’d be no tension from which to release. Any shift in diet would be out of self-love and care for your amazing body. We are a culture of gorgeous women expected to fit into unrealistic moulds. I mean, if tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business!!