The longer I am a trainer and the longer I coach people with their food habit the more I see emotional eating being a HUGE road block. The funny thing is… we all are emotional eaters! I AM, YOU are and every single person! We have been programed since birth to be comforted by food.. so stop feeling bad about it. You cannot take the emotional connection away from food! Why would you? Food is amazing and is a big part of our lives and cultures. What we do need to be aware of is using food to distract us from the stresses of life… which create guilt and sabotages our weight loss efforts.
Here’s some advice for you all for the BEST summer of your life! SHED all of your excess lbs and eat just enough food every day-no more, no less- to maintain your ideal weight for the rest of your life.
If you are saying to yourself.. you’re too stresses or overworked or tired or worried or just downright HUNGRY to pay attention to how much you eat.. your’re not alone. Eating fills a great many needs beyond just calories. Our emotional connection to food can be wonderful and positive or it can lead to chronic mindless overeating.
Here are tools I (yes I have to work on this stuff too.. rememeber, trainers are people too)
How to detect emotional eating?
- It will come on sudden whereas real physical hunger grows gradually
- Tends to create craving for really specific foods (often sugar or carbs), true hunger leaves room for lots of options
- Emotional hunger generally needs to be satisfied NOW! Instantly. Where real hunger could wait a bit (10-15min)
- Stopping and asking yourself.. am I really hungry? Is my stomach asking for food?
- Asking yourself if your tired? Thirsty? sad? Mad? anxious? Guilt? Emotions can trigger emotional eating BIG TIME (aka wanting to be distracted by food). Esp when you havd been doing it most your life. It’s a hard behavior to stop.. but it CAN BE DONE!
What to do when you know it’s there?
- STOP! Just be aware of what’s happening. Just stop.
- BREATHing deeply
- Use your internal dialogue… talk to yourself about why you want to eat, and how it’s going to make you feel after. Connect with the bad feelings you get when you emotional eat, then remember how good it feels to choose healthier behaviors. For example.. This is me in my head.. “Paisley, eating a giant bag of chocolate covered pretzels is going to make you feel sluggish, tired, not excited… if I don’t eat them I will feel awesome, energied and ready to rock it”.
- Go to a yoga class.
- Take a little nap
- Talke to supportive people
- Use positive affirmations and gratitudes to help get past the bad emotion
How to prevent emotional over eating?
- Stop restricting yourself! Allow yourself to have treats! I love to buy myself treats!
- Stop dieting. Eat good food all throughout the day! don’t wait longer than 4 hrs between your meals. Make sure your eating prot carbs and FAT!
- Work on your emotional health. Talk about your feelings. Work on having good emotional awareness. What’s bothering you? What upsets you? What stresses you out? Then come up with healthy realistic plans to work on these things!
- Don’t keep food in the house you would have a tendency to emotionally eat. Like for me.. choc covered pretzels
Have anything to add? Would love to hear what you all do?