Recipe to Halt Emotional Eating
Although I'm often referred to as “the Ambassador of Joy,” it certainly wasn’t always the case. I spent the first half of my lifetime in the hell of a binge eating disorder. Then, over the past 30 years, I have explored tools and techniques to get out of that quagmire of compulsive overeating. I present them here as my 5-ingredient recipe to halt emotional eating. [Note: This recipe can be adapted and used to change any unwanted behavior.]
The 5 ingredients are:
1) Become Aware. Nothing can be changed until you acknowledge it. Ready to grab something to eat? Pause, ask yourself “Am I physically hungry?” Sometimes the answer is “no,” and you refrain from eating it. Other times, the answer is “no,” and you eat it anyway. Now, however, you’ll do it with awareness!
2) Get Support. Changing any habit or behavior means changing yourself, and that’s not easy to do without outside support. Do you have a buddy (or two, or several?) that you can call on whenever you need a helping hand or receptive ear? For more helpful tips, refer to the earlier post, “Are You Going It Alone?”
3) Monitor your Personal Energy. Pause for a moment right now–what is your energy level on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the highest possible)? Periodically during the day, stop and check in with yourself. If your energy drops, there is a tendency to reach for an energy drink or candy bar to boost it. Make a list of personal energizers, as discussed in the “Personal Energizer – Natural Highs” post and use them to keep your energy from falling too low! Tap into Source energy and breathe it into your heart to feel more energized and revitalized.
4) Do your Inner Work. Have you ever decided that you’d give up something, say sugar, and within a few hours, or minutes, you find yourself eating it? What’s going on? Our unconscious/subconscious rules the day. One way to discover what’s beneath the surface is to become aware of the different voices in your head. For instance, the Inner Critic voice tells you how “bad and stupid” you are, or maybe the words it screams at you are “fat and ugly.” When you become conscious of this voice one response could be, “Thanks for your input. Now sit down and shut up!”
5) Make Conscious Choices. When you slow down enough, you will have some space (ok, maybe only a fraction of a second) between thinking about eating whatever and actually reaching for it. During that split second you can choose to do an intervention. Ask yourself these 4 important questions:
- Am I physically hungry?
- Am I really hungry or am I choosing food to change the way I’m feeling?
- What would happen if I allowed myself to be in my feelings rather than eat my feelings?
- What would support me in doing this?
To have future posts delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for the newsletter (scroll up and fill in the box on the right).