If you're an emotional eater, you may feel guilty and blame yourself for your lack of willpower. Stop right there!
Be kind to yourself. Emotional eating can only be overcome with patience and kindness. Change one habit at a time and take small steps towards a healthy lifestyle.
Here are a few practical ways to eat for nourishment, instead of out of habit or stress.
Learn to Identify Real Hunger
Learn to tell the difference between emotional and physical hunger. If you ate just a couple of hours ago and your stomach is not rumbling, then you probably don’t need food right away. Physical hunger comes on gradually, but you may miss it when you aren’t aware of the signs.
Take a moment to really check in right now: how hungry are you on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being so hungry you are dizzy and weak). When you think about food, check yourself on this scale again. If you are around a 6 or 7, that’s an ideal time to eat. And stop when you are just nicely satisfied, around a 3 or 4 on the hunger scale.
When eating, focus on your meal and leave everything else behind. Turn off the smartphone and the TV, take a few deep breaths, and empty your mind.
We spend most of our days on the go, which shuts off the digestion so we are ready to get stuff done on a moments notice. Taking some deep breaths helps the digestion by getting you into the parasympathetic response.
Enjoy every bite with all your senses. Pay attention to the food’s flavor, smell, and texture. Even really notice how it looks. The colors and shapes. And while you eat, chew slowly.
Be Sstrategic About Stress
Try to avoid high-stress activities at least an hour or so before eating. For instance, if you've just had an argument with your husband, it's not a good idea to eat right away. You might end up binging on food because of all the stress and anger. Give yourself some time to calm down and think rationally before you plan your next meal. Also, learn to relax and squeeze more "me" time into your daily routine.
Stress is strongly related to emotional eating. You can’t completely eliminate stress from your life, but you can certainly have systems in place to minimize it.
A great first step is to prioritize your needs. You need to stop trying to please others. I know this is so much easier said than done. It helps to remember that most people won’t be as offended as we think they will.
When you have less on your to-do list, there will be more of your best self to give to those most important people and tasks in your life.
Let me know, which of these is the most challenging for you?