Do you eat when you are feeling sad, anxious or bored? Emotional eating happens in response to negative emotions. In other words, a person turns to food looking for comfort despite not being hungry.
I was once an emotional eater. Whenever I was feeling down I would find something to eat: bread, cookies, whatever I could find. But I wouldn´t eat a slice of bread or three or four cookies. I would eat almost an entire bread or a pack of cookies. I felt good while I was eating, but terrible and guilty once I finished.
I was looking in food what I didn´t have in my life. I thought food would help me cope with the negative emotions I was experiencing, but this was just an illusion. Each time I overate, I felt even worse but I simply couldn´t control myself.
Today I am no longer an emotional eater, but this didn´t happen overnight. It was a process. I have learned many things along the way and this is why I would like to share with you five steps to help you overcome emotional eating:
1. Identify what is missing in your life
If you overeat it is probably because you are trying to find in food what you don´t have in your life. Do you need love and affection? Are you happy with your partner? Do you like your job? Think about what might be missing in your life and what you can do to change this situation.
2. Avoid boredom
It is Sunday afternoon and you are home alone. What can you do? I know visiting the pantry seems a good option, but I challenge you to do something different: visit instead a family member, call a friend, go for a walk. You can also decide to start a new project that excites you. The most important thing is to find something that entertains you!
3. Stop bringing unhealthy food into your home
If you only had healthy food at home such as vegetables, fruit and brown rice would you still overeat? I don´t think so. You overeat what you have available at home, but this means unhealthy food such as cookies, chips, chocolates, ice cream. My advice is for you to stop bringing these products into your home. If you don´t have them at home you are not going to eat them, right?
4. Adopt a balanced diet
What do you usually overeat? Sugary foods? Salty foods? These cravings might be associated with lack of nutrients in your diet. For example, you might have a magnesium deficiency and this is why you crave chocolate or inadequate mineral levels and this is why you have salt cravings,
5. Love yourself
Create daily habits for self-love. Mirror work, by Louise Hay, is a powerful technique. For example, first thing in the morning look at yourself in the mirror and say “I love you so much, [your name].” Throughout the day avoid negative self-talk and instead say to yourself or out loud (as you prefer) this mantra by Elizabeth Dialto “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.” Include also in your day something that gives you pleasure such as a self-massage,a long bath or meditation.
I hope you find these tips useful and it would be great if you could share your experience!
In case you need support throughout this process, please contact me. As a health coach my job is to help you achieve your health goals by devising and implementing positive, sustainable lifestyle changes.
Food is joy. Food is nourishment. Food is life.