Take control of your emotional Eating...

While the main function for eating is to provide fuel for survival, it is also an inherently emotional act.
 
Why?

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Your very first experience of love and affection is presented through nourishment. 
 
Food energizes the body and provides you with a sense of comfort and peace.
 
It is ok to eat emotionally a few times of year, as food continues to be the focal point of our most cherished celebrations – birthdays, Christmas, weddings, anniversaries, holidays.  However, emotional eating becomes very problematic if you are dependant on food as your only source of comfort.
 
If you find yourself seeking food whenever you feel stressed, gently bring awareness to your habits.
 
Food might be your automatic response to stress, therefore it is important to break that response with another habit. 
 
First become conscious of the source for your emotional upset.  Is there a looming deadline?  Is work putting you under pressure?  Did you have an argument with a friend/ partner/ family member that is still bothering you?
 
A stroll around the park, calling a friend or a short self-massage (abhyanga) is a good way to redirect your focus away from food.
 
However, it is very important you take time to reflect and deal with the emotional issue.  This can greatly reduce your desire to emotionally eat as you are tackling the root cause of the concern.
 
Ask yourself what triggered you.  What foods did you eat and why did you choose them?  What would you do differently next time?
 
Examine your cravings.
 
The foods you emotionally eat give an insight into what’s going on internally. 
 
Take a look at the qualities of the food you indulge in: 
 

  • Are you eating sugar so you can feel sweeter, or to boost your energy?

  • Are spicy foods giving you a kick when your feeling depressed or down? 

  • Do you crave chocolate for more passion or love in your life? 

  • Are you eating nuts to feel more grounded?

  • Is pasta and bread filling an empty void from grief or loneliness?

 
If you know you’re not eating for hunger, what emotion does the indulgence soothe or numb?
 
By bringing your awareness to how the food is making you feel emotionally, you will be able to uncover what your body is intrinsically craving.
 
Do you feel guilt or ashamed because of emotional eating?
 
It might be time to change your perspective around emotional eating.  Emotional eating is not a bad thing.
 
Your body is doing everything it can to calm itself down and it sees food as medicine, a way to soothe you.  At the core, this is a very nurturing impulse.
 
Getting angry with yourself for eating is only going to make you feel worse.  Instead find a healthier way to express your feelings.  Finding a way to address your emotions rather than masking them with food will help to break the cycle.
 
What is the purpose of food?
 
As we know, we eat to replenish energy.  However, most foods we eat while emotional eating do the opposite of this.
 
Refined wheat and sugar have dramatic side effects on the blood and are often the cause of the very same emotions you are trying to supress.
 
If you do turn to sugar or refined wheat when you are emotional, it is important to recognise and honour that it is for emotional reasons.  Bring awareness to how the food is making you feel.
 
Does it make you feel warm?  Loved?  Is there something else you can bring into your life to make you feel this way? 
 
Be grateful that you were able to comfort yourself.  Take time and enjoy the food that is comforting you.  Eating food at a rapid pace will lead to stomach discomfort, gas, and bloating, as your stomach struggles to breakdown the chunks of improperly chewed food. 
 
Savour every bite.
 
Be kind and patient with yourself.  
 
Overcoming emotional eating takes time and can be a long process. 
 
Every time you indulge in an uncontrollable craving, take note of how you feel.  Then formulate a strategy and implement this every time a craving strikes. 
 
When it comes to overcoming emotional eating, awareness is the key to success. 

Treat each binge as a learning experience that provides key insights into your triggers and emotions.
 
But above all else, unburden yourself from the guilt.
 
Thanks for reading!  I hope this can help you in some way.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like further information.
 
Till next week, happy training,
 
Ciara
Unit 13 Fitness

Larry Brady