Emotional eating is an activity people engage in to soothe negative emotions, like stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness or loneliness. The hassles of daily life can trigger negative emotions that lead to emotional eating that can disrupt your happiness, contentment and, for our purposes, fat-loss efforts.
In order for us to move past our emotional eating we need to figure out what our personal triggers are, give them a name and work at diffusing situations where they make themselves known.
Once we do this, we can move on to healthier focuses in our nutrition goals.
Avoiding “bad” feelings
Family strife, job or finances are hugely relevant here and your hunger becomes about avoiding anxiety or sadness. Eating keeps you soothed and distracted but creates a problem because you have to keep eating.
Practice emotional tolerance and waiting out emotions. These situations are, in fact, finite. You can talk it out with someone, journal, exercise, or meditate. You might want to do an activity that is not compatible with eating like taking a walk, a bath or joining an art class.
With nothing to do and no one to talk to food can seem like the answer. Eating is something to do and something we can again, busy ourselves with.
Create a list of activities that you can do for such an occasion. Think about it in terms of indoor and outdoor activities as well. Keep your list handy and commit to trying out your own suggestions as least a couple of times per week. Journal about it!
Unconscious eating, or shoveling food in your mouth without awareness of taste or satiety is a form of soothing the self. Taking an active and present role in your own life helps you to be free from this action. This can turn into a habit if you are not being mindful of your actions. The option to “netflix and chill” or “veg-out” every night in front of the TV or your computer might be you not wanting to be present in your own world. But why?
You can practice mindfulness and meditation to be more present and aware in your day to day activities. If you start journaling around your feelings of negativity, you may find that you need to change up your regular routine to bring more satisfaction to your daily life. If you are in need of relaxation, meditation (even just 2 minutes per day) is the place to start. Not the refrigerator.
There’s a bag of chips, pie, cake, chocolate bar awaiting you at home after work. You can just about taste it, love it and are excited to have more, more, more! Your MIND wants more now, it’s a mental game, your mind wants that “hit” N-O-W.
Patience, waiting, delays. You need to stave off this addictive behavior and tell yourself that the “treat” will be there for you later. You do not need to act on your urges, especially when you aren’t aware of their hold on you. Practice your willpower even if it’s just minute by minute. Hour by hour.
When we are tired and burned out we can be overcome by food urges. To add, when you are in the middle of a long, drawn out, or boring task, food distraction can seem like the break away answer in the moment.
Again, create awareness of your physical situation at the moment. Take a nap, drink plenty of water, go for a walk. The answer is never in the pantry.
We celebrate wins with food & drink, happy moments in life and family gatherings. We reward ourselves with food like Pavlovian dogs but, we seem to place mental health and wellness on the back burner. This is the time to express happy emotions openly without the use of food or drink.
If you have only been experiencing your lifes pleasures via food, you need to create or find ways to bring this to your life without it. Use all your senses to create this such as; climbing a mountain and enjoying a breathtaking view from the top, getting a relaxing massage, enjoying a night of dancing or seeing a comedian that allows for great and deep belly laughs.
Now that you are becoming aware of your triggers, it’s time to focus less on weight related goals and set our sights on health. In order to stick with a healthy plan, it’s more advantageous to look at the overall best reasons for doing so, some of these could be:
- Lower cholesterol
- Blood pressure issues
- Thyroid issues
Without a real and impactful goal for staying on the straight and narrow where your health is concerned, there is always the very real danger of slipping back into unhealthy eating habits.
Food is very real and very powerful medicine or poison and it is as simple as that. You will never out run your emotional burdens, you will never out run a bad diet and you most certainly will never find happiness at the bottom of a bottle or box of cookies.
Healthy living is about making the choice to live your best life for you. It’s not about deprivation; it’s about longevity, awareness and true contentment.
As a coach I can give you a meal plan, a fitness plan, train with you, teach you how to plan your meals, talk to you about your struggles and push you every week to check in.
What I can’t do is create the deep personal meaning behind the driving fire that gets you to stick by what you believe in on a daily basis. We need to make conscious decisions every day as individuals .
You need to decide how you want your life to look and how you are going to take responsibility for it taking on the shape that you’re after. It will be hard work, it will take consistency (1 week of healthy eating followed by 2 days of binging on repeat is NOT consistency) to see results, it will take determination to show up and it will take realism to admit when you need to make changes.
I’m here to help you help yourself.
Lets kill another week!
Xx – S