Ending Emotional Eating
Are you an emotional eater? You’re not alone. Almost everyone eats emotionally some of the time. Many of us cope with uncomfortable feelings or not having our needs met by eating. Often we’re not even aware that we’re doing it until we hit the bottom of the carton of ice cream or bag of chips. It’s an extremely common problem that can undermine your best intentions to lose weight and love yourself. Unfortunately many women try to control emotional eating by dieting or restricting their food intake, which only makes the problem worse.
Here are three steps you can take to help end emotional eating:
Step 1: Become aware of your feelings
Before you reach for food ask yourself: What am I feeling right now? Not sure? Common feelings include: fearful, angry, sad, joyful, disgusted, surprised or shame. If none if these descriptions seem to fit, try the description, “uncomfortable”, and see if that resonates with you.
Step 2: Determine what you need (instead of food), now?
Take a moment and ask yourself what do I actually need right now. If you’re not hungry you don’t need food, you need something else to help you deal with the uncomfortable feelings you discovered in step 1. Ask yourself do I need distraction, support or self-care or am I ready to deal with my feelings?
Step 3: Give yourself what you need
Need distraction? Watch a movie, read a book, listen to music, play with a pet, go shopping or surf the net. Would some loving support help you feel better? Call or text a friend, talk to a family member or meet with a good therapist. Are you ready to deal with your feelings? Write in a journal, sit quietly with your feelings or talk with a therapist. It’s also very helpful to reframe your thoughts by viewing the situation causing uncomfortable feelings in a different way. Perhaps you just need some self-care. If that’s the case rest or take a nap, go for a walk, soak in the tub, take yourself out on a date or get a massage.
Determining what you need is at the heart of conquering emotional eating and practicing self-compassion. So keep an ongoing list of ways you like to care for yourself emotionally, physically, spiritually and psychologically. Then you’ll be ready to give yourself what you need the next time you feel like eating emotionally.
•Self-care-Sleep or rest, take a walk, set limits, take yourself on a fun date, get a massage or take a yoga class.