Do you find yourself looking into the fridge wondering what you might like to try next?
Do you eat a whole chocolate bar and then wonder why you did it?
Do you enjoy the feeling of indulging in treats only to feel angry with yourself afterwards?
Well, don’t be too hard on yourself because it might be emotional eating and you can control that.
Here are the top five emotional eating triggers….
Emotional eating can be a direct result of not being conscious of what or why you’re eating. Unconscious eating is when you’re full, but you continue to pick at your meal, slowly eating the remaining portion that you intended to leave behind has disappeared. It can also be putting peanuts, sweets or any other food in your mouth, just because it’s in front of you.
The answer? Try to remain mindful of what and when you’re eating. It might sound tedious at first, but start slowly and avoid judging yourself whilst you try it out. The good news is this will form part of my next healthy eating course.
Food is your only pleasure
Do you think “I would have nothing to look forward to if I didn’t eat.”
At the end of a long and hectic day, a big bowl of ice cream can be especially effective in temporarily soothing your exhausted, hard-working self. Why? Well, according to many sources eating sugars and fats releases opioids into our brains. Opioids are the active ingredients in cocaine, heroin, and many other drugs. The calming, soothing effects you feel when you eat ice cream and crisps are real, and breaking the habits can be like kicking a drug habit.
The answer? Find other ways to reward and soothe yourself besides food, will these other ways be as effective at soothing you like food? Absolutely not! The things you come up with will help a little, but in order to truly give up emotional eating, you’re also going to have to practice tolerating difficult feelings. Which leads us to…...
Inability to Tolerate Difficult Feelings
In our culture, we learn from a young age to avoid things that feel bad. Unfortunately, the ways we have found to distract ourselves from difficult feelings are not always in our best interests. Without the ability to tolerate experiencing life’s inevitable crappy feelings, you’re susceptible to emotional eating.
The answer? Practice letting yourself experience difficult feelings. I know, much easier said than done! I know you don’t like feeling mad, sad, rejected, and bored. You might think “What’s the point in feeling mad? It doesn’t change anything.” And whilst it may not change the source of your anger it will prevent you from having to blunt your feelings with behaviours you’d like to stop — like eating.
It may sound crazy, but it’s true. Hating your body is one of the biggest factors in emotional eating. Negativity, shame, and hatred rarely inspire people to make long-lasting great changes, especially when it comes to our bodies or our sense of self. I used to think I would stop hating my body after I reached my goal weight. Now I know you have to stop hating your body before you can stop the emotional eating cycle.
The answer? Unfortunately, this one is complicated and unique for each person. To truly make progress that lasts requires more than just a short post, but the good news is I’m working on a producing a course to do just that!
Letting yourself get too hungry or too tired is the best way to leave yourself vulnerable to emotional eating. When your body is hungry or tired, it not only sends strong messages to your brain that signal it to eat, but when we’re hungry and tired, we’re not on top form. This leaves us less equipped to fight off cravings or urges.
The answer? You guessed it! Get plenty of sleep, and eat several small meals during the day. (I’m a genius, right?) I know you’re going to tell me that you don’t have time, but if your goal is to stop emotional eating, you’re going to have to yourself a priority.
Emotional eating is a powerful and effective way to find temporary relief from many of life’s challenges. If it didn’t work, nobody would do it. In order to stop the cycle of emotional eating, you have to make a commitment to reach deep inside yourself to find a place of determination and strength to make changes for good.
Over the next few months, I’ll be working on a course that covers everything you need to get into healthy eating habits and love how that makes you feel. If you’re interested drop me a message and I’d be happy to let you know when the course starts.