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Overcoming Emotional Eating – How to Stop Emotional Eating For Good
We all engage in emotional eating. Whether we’re celebrating someone’s birthday or mourning the loss of a loved one – food is rarely ever not involved. Comfort foods remind us of when we were young and even just the smell can make us feel safe and secure because it is a reminder of our childhood. We often crave these comfort foods the most when life gets challenging or stressful.
For most of us, we don’t realize we’re an emotional eater or we don’t think it’s that serious. For some of us, emotional eating does not lead to feelings of guilt or weight gain. For some of us, we can eat comfort food and think it’s not a big deal, but it really is. For others, emotional eating is out of control and something that can rule our lives on a daily basis. This may seem like overwhelming desires or hunger, but it is really the emotions that we feel that make us feel hungry, desperate and add to our weight.
Comfort food gives us instant gratification and takes away our ability to feel. Digestion and sensation both take a lot of energy and therefore the body cannot do both. Comfort eating allows us not to have to deal with the emotion when we overload our digestive system with toxic garbage.
When we are feeling emotional, it can be normal for us to feel a big empty hole inside us when we are hungry. Instead of what this means – that is, our emotions, we stop it down. In society, it seems as if we have become afraid to feel so much, so we don’t even realize that we hide most of our emotions.
If we don’t let ourselves feel it, we suppress it. When youlearn and start to allow yourself to feel the emotion or emotions that arise and stop stopping, you can feel very overwhelmed. This is because your body will release past emotions and so it can hit you very hard. That’s why it can be difficult to let go of emotional eating because we have to get over that initial “fear” to move on and start learning to appreciate emotions for what they are. Being in the present moment, allowing a feeling to wash over us is beautiful and should be appreciated. The more you allow yourself to be in the present moment and feel, the less emotions will consume you and the less afraid you will be of them. The intensity of the emotion will also decrease. You will become stronger mentally and physically. You’ll feel so much better once it’s off your chest, rather than suppressing it with food.
Of course, it is not necessarily simple to get to this point. Some people can break their emotional eating by nourishing their body well to get rid of physical cravings and get support from others when they feel stressed or emotional. Essentially replacing comfort with a person instead of using food.
If you want to break emotional eating, you need to become aware of how and why you eat. Take a day out to observe yourself and what triggers you to eat. Are you eating out of true hunger? Most people don’t even have a concept of true hunger!
If you find yourself eating for emotional reasons, can you stop yourself? Instead of eating you can sit and allow the emotion to wash over you – give yourself time to feel it and move pass it? Or can you turn to someone to talk about how you feel?
Don’t be hard on yourself. Emotional eating is probably something you did from a very early age and so is part of your makeup. It’s a learned habit and it’s how you’ve learned to deal with the world. Undoing something like that that is built into you will take time, so if you find yourself eating out of emotion – if you slip – learn from it, don’t feel bad about it, just keep going. The first step is recognition. Once you know that you are eating out of comfort, you can overcome it.
Journaling can also help you identify patterns in your eating. Write down how you feel before, during and after a meal. What triggered your eating – was it genuine hunger?
If you start doing this, in time you should be able to overcome your emotional eating and feel good about yourself and take care of yourself. If youare finding it too hard or too difficult to fight emotional eating on your own, you can try seeing a counselor or there is a great program online that can help.
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