Have you ever thought to yourself …“Today is such a horrible day, I deserve something sweet otherwise I am not going to make it through the res of the day”
Reaching out for something to eat when you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or tired may be your default mechanism and feel like second nature.
You’re busy and food is an easy “go to” strategy
It’s usually the easy go-to foods that give you an instant pick me up and stress relief.
The problem is when this becomes your go-to way of coping with your emotions it starts an emotional eating habit loop, which quickly develops into your emotional diet .
A lot of smart, capable women find themselves stuck in a vicious cycle of hunger, tiredness, cravings that they feel helpless to change.
That feels really frustrating for a smart, capable person like you, because you know what to do, you just aren’t sure how to get out of this annoying old cycle.
Do you use food as a source of comfort when you're feeling sad, anxious, or bored?
Here are some stats
At least 90% of women use food to soothe their stress or emotions.
About 90% of what we do is habit, routine and ritual.
In addition, our brains have limited decision-making capacity each day.
And most women don’t know any other way to deal with these emotions and feel helpless to make any change.
Here are a few things every smart, capable woman needs to know about emotional eating
It’s one of the most common reasons smart, capable women overeat.
Emotional eating is a result of emotional triggers and unresolved issues that need addressing
The affect of your emotional diet on your weight
Mindless munching and overeating can really hurt your weight management goals.
And depending on what you eat, have an impact on your health, too.
It may be because you are managing a lot of different things and feeling overwhelmed and eating helps you to calm down and reduce the emotional burden you are feeling.
And the choices you make while you are busy living your life start to add up.
And here is what smart, capable women, who use food for comfort, really want
To learn ways to nourish themselves with out turning to food.
Knowing how to avoid eating “when you are bored but too tired to do an activity to distract yourself”
Knowing how to stop stress eating? They know what they ‘should’ do, but at the end of the day, they often don’t have the willpower to do it.”
There is one simple thing you can do to change things around – you start by taking the steps to address the reasons that you are craving food when you are not hungry.
And recognising when your emotions are making your eating decisions.
Knowing and applying these simple strategies will help you achieve that and ultimately take control.
The 5 simple strategies to feel lighter and quit your emotional diet:
This begins when you start paying attention, listening and identifying your needs. This is your learning opportunity.
Step #1- Pause
When you are emotionally charged you are also emotionally activated and this affects your decision-making.
This often leads to “mindless” behaviours like emotional eating.
When you pause, you create time to make a deliberate, smart decision, using your creative problem solving skills that you use so well in other areas of your life.
Here are some tips:
Leave the emotional situation, that may mean leaving your office or the place where it happened.
Go outside or to a room or place where you can be alone.
Take a few deep breaths
Acknowledge what you are feeling, “I am really angry.”
Take a few more breaths
Choose your next step
Step #2 -Check in with yourself
When you start asking yourself questions you’ll get better at identifying where to focus your energy for best results.
Check in with what you need and want at that moment.
And it helps to go deep and find those feelings that you have been glazing over and stuffing down.
If you are soothing your emotions with food the only way to resolve this is to address the underlying problems.
Writing it down may help you make a connection you hadn't noticed before
Noting your feelings when the craving strikes
Time of the day when it happens
The environment it happens in
Step#3 - Clothe yourself in self-compassion
“Your are worthy of being treated with compassion, gentleness and respect”
Self-awareness, being honest with yourself and self-compassion will help you move in the right direction.
First and most important is to:
Give yourself few moments to feel what ever emotion you may be feeling, be it anger, overwhelm or disappointment
Speak gently to your self the way you would with a loving friend
And you could try the following:
Step#4 - Hunger or comfort?
Knowing what true hunger feels like will help you recognise if and when you may be eating for emotional reasons
When you feel hungry try asking yourself the following questions:
How am I feeling emotionally? (Remember physical hunger is not connected to emotions)
How long has it been since I last ate? (Should be approx. 3-4 hrs.’)
What do I feel like eating? (Is it healthy or is it comfort food?)
Have I missed any meals today?
Have my meals been well balanced?
Be aware of decision fatigue
Your deliberate decision-making ability weakens as the day goes on and so does your willpower.
There may be other reasons why you may be feeling hungry:
Be prepared when decision fatigue strikes and don’t leave it to chance:
Have healthy snacks on hand
Check in to make sure you are not thirsty as that can appear as hunger or craving
Take a walk outside and se if the hunger dissipates
Step #5- Adjust your Strategies
Instead of feeling guilty and frustrated about giving in to your cravings, you could try and use your “giving in” experiences as a learning strategy and identify what hasn’t worked.
Adopting a “Progress Not Perfection” attitude will help you compassionately examine and come up with other strategies for the future.
Curiosity stretches your thinking and is the most powerful thing you own.
Curiosity creates a non-judgmental space and an opportunity to adjust your strategies
Be curious about your needs
Be curious about what works and what doesn’t
"Reflect and Learn"
"Step into change and nourish yourself”
Reflecting and learning from the previous moments that didn’t go so well will help you build stronger strategies.
It may be useful to ask yourself the following questions (with compassion):
From there you are ready to create a list of new strategies to try, taking into account:
What feelings you identified came up for you
Where you were when it happened?
And asking yourself “How can I identify these feelings, needs earlier in the future?”
And lastly, Make today count
“Today is your chance to steer your life in the most meaningful direction you can imagine.”
Today is a new beginning and a new chance for you to learn new ways to nourish yourself in ways that don’t involve food!
Now I would love to hear from you…
How can you take control of your eating, lose the self-blame AND FREE your thoughts and feelings to get on with your wonderful life?
Emotional Eating Coach
I help busy women who are sick of struggling with emotional eating and frustrated with their weight, to take back their power by making peace with food.
Book a 15-minute consultation with me to see if I can help you: Click Here
It's FREE and it might change your life.
2. The end of overeating. David. A. Kessler