I talked a little in a previous post about emotional eating but it struck me this week as I delivered the first live session in my new course that I could share some of my wisdom here for you to take advantage of.
I believe that there are 5 fundamental things you need to do, in order to conquer your emotional eating patterns and that’s what I want to share with you here today.
1. Get in touch with your feelings
How often do you really allow yourself to get in touch with how you are feeling? It can become so entrenched in us to hide or ignore our feelings that sometimes, you have to dig really deep to know how you actually feel. Get used to thinking on a regular basis ‘how am I feeling?’. Take a few minutes to close your eyes, take a deep breath and simply be in the moment and ‘feel’.
These feelings don’t need to be ‘deep’. You could be feeling happy, sad, excited, stressed, nervous, tired or simply content.
Realise too that your feelings are valid. You are allowed to feel like that because it’s how you feel now, in the moment.
Once you get used to acknowledging and allowing your feelings, you no longer need to change or alter them with food.
2. Create a positive mindset
What we believe, we create.
It’s like a self fulfilling prophecy.
So, if you tell yourself that you always eat when you’re stressed and that it helps you, then that’s what you’ll do.
These thoughts create the habitual actions and the beliefs that we hold.
When you begin to work with the thoughts that you’re having and try to understand them and decide on a plan to change them then you can begin to move away from always reaching for food to manage your feelings.
For example, if you always reach for chocolate after a stressful day at work, try taking 10 minutes to examine what happened, why you feel stressed and what you can do about it tomorrow when you get back into work. Now, think about what you can do to unwind in this moment now (step away from the chocolate 😉 ) and how you can leave work behind for the evening.
3. Get over your fear of certain foods
If your background is deeply entwined with a history of dieting then I’ll bet you have a list of ‘bad foods’ filed away deep in your subconscious.
These will include chocolate, sweets, desserts, cake, crisps, chips and a number of other things.
These foods will have an association in your mind of being ‘bad’ and if you eat them then you will probably start to feel guilt or shame (although this may be deeply hidden).
You need to see food as neutral. It’s not good or bad. Food sustains us and we can eat whatever we want.
Of course, if a food send you into anaphylactic shock or you have an allergy or food intolerance this is different, but on the whole stop thinking in terms of good and bad and just think sustenance.
Once a food has no hold over you, then you’ll probably find the attraction wanes and the guilt will be gone too, reducing the urge to binge on it.
4. Make friends with your body
For many of my clients there is a deep shame associated with their body size and shape as well as a love/hate relationship with it. When you stop hating it for what it doesn’t look like and start appreciating all the things it does for you every day, without you even having to think about it, you can start to change your relationship with it.
As you change from shame and hatred to appreciation and possibly even to acceptance then you can start to want to treat it with respect and keep it healthy. You’re less likely to want to hurt it with overeating the things you know it doesn’t need.
Don’t force this process. You have to truly feel it but you can start with a list of all the things it does for you on a daily basis and how grateful you feel because of that.
5. Live your life to the max!
When you stop waiting do things until you’re a stone lighter, suddenly the world opens up.
What don’t you do because you are waiting until you’ve lost a stone or two?
What clothes haven’t you bought because you will treat yourself when you drop a dress size?
For the love of your body, get clothes that you feel bloody amazing in NOW!
Like attracts like, so start cultivating the feelings you’ll have when you’re at your ideal weight. Start believing that life is good and that anything you’re going through will pass eventually.
No-one’s life is amazing all the time (even those who’d have you believe it is) but keep showing up as if you’re there and soon you’ll no longer be relying on food to make you feel better.
There are loads more ideas, exercises and practical techniques in my course Understanding Emotional Eating. Click the image below and you can get started immediately. Bite sized chunks build into a course that helps and supports you to understand and start to change your emotional eating habits.