The first step to overcome emotional eating is to acknowledge that you have a problem with food.
For me, I knew I had a problem with food, but when it came to changing my behavior, I focused on diet and what I was eating. But the process of losing weight and getting healthy, forced me to really look at my relationship with food and I realized I had a problem.
There are different types of emotional eating and everyone does it. For example: When someone dies and we visit the loved ones, we often feel the need to bring some sort of meal or food as we pay our respects. For some reason we think giving them food will make them feel better.
You see we use food to make us feel better when we are sad. We use food to celebrate things as well. That’s why you can always find cake and alcohol at weddings. And this is something that everyone does. We all use food emotionally.
This is how we have been programmed since we were kids. I remember being a small child and realizing that when I got a boo boo, my Mommy would give me a cookie so I would stop crying. So I learned that food fixed the boo boo. Later as an adult, I found that I reached for food when I felt adult emotions.
But for some us, it isn’t just about using food to feel better, Some of us are emotional eaters and often feel out of control.
How do you know if you are an emotional eater? Think about the last time you had something to eat that you later regretted eating. What emotional state were you in? Where you stressed, sad or depressed. Without realizing it. emotional eaters use food to feel better on the inside.
I remember when I was working as a retail manager, I worked very long shifts on my feet. I was often to busy to take a lunch break and my job in general was very stressful. Some days I was stressed out to the max. I remember the moment I had a problem with stress eating. It was when I was food shopping and I saw that Hershey Kisses were on sale. As I reached for them, the thought “I deserve this!” was in my head. I purchased them and later asked myself why. Because of course I don’t deserve to eat all this sugar if I’m trying to get healthy and lose weight.
I realized that I was looking to make myself feel better, just like my mom did when I had a boo boo as a child.
We are all different and we all use food in different ways to help us feel better.
But how do you overcome emotional eating while you are working on getting healthy and eating better?
The Second Step is to Love Yourself more than you Love Food!
This is when we really get honest with ourselves and realize what we are doing. Think about the action of eating food emotionally and looking to “feel better”. Do you actually feel better after you eat the bowl of ice cream or an entire pizza? Most often we feel awful and wish we didn’t have it at all. We wish we had more control over food.
This is when we need to accept that food isn’t going to make us feel better at all. Yes it may for a moment, but not for long. We can say no to crap food when we focus on loving our self enough that we want to be healthy and live longer and not be on medications.
When people are stressed or sad or lonely, they don’t reach for celery and carrots to eat. No, they more than likely reach for unhealthy foods packed with carbs and sugar.
For me, sugar was my drug. This is Soooo addictive. It just makes you crave more and more And then you feel like crap. This is very frustrating. But once you realize that these foods do you no good you can begin to get a little of control. You can love yourself more than you love the sugar.
The Third Step Eat a Low Carb Diet
When you eliminate sugar and carbs from your diet, the cravings will go away and you will feel much better. When there isn’t the spike in insulin, caused by high carb foods, you will feel like you are more in control and your cravings will go away. A Keto or low carb diet is perfect for emotional eaters!
The Fourth Step is to Avoid Triggers
Avoiding stress can be difficult as it can come in many forms. It can be an unavoidable crisis or a daily stressful day. But stress can trigger eating to feel better.
If you are triggered by stress caused by work or a spouse or a sick relative, it will be difficult to avoid. But you can really take time to look at the situation and see if there is a way to eliminate some stress. For example, just taking time away from the situation can help. When I was stressed with my job, I decided that my health was more important that being stressed by things I couldn’t control. But I started to make changes with the things that I could control. I started to say NO to people! I started putting myself first. I no longer skipped my lunch like I did in the past and started spending my lunch break meditating and listening to music. It helped me to be more calm and make better choices. What can you do to make your life less stressful?
Every time you turn around there is another holiday and always unhealthy food. When out with family and friends you are encouraged to eat and drink all the bad stuff. You will need to figure out what works for you.
Sometimes we eat just to eat or because it is what we have always done. When I was my heaviest, I would have a bowl of ice cream nightly while watching TV. I didn’t eat it because I was hungry. I ate it simply because it was a habit. And it was a difficult habit to break. But once I realized what I was doing, I was able to make a change. You can too. This is about figuring out what works for you. Now, instead of watching TV, I read in bed (where I don’t eat).
Hire a Health Coach who Specializes in helping with Emotional Eating
Let’s face it, losing weight and getting healthy isn’t easy. This is freaking hard. I know because I did it. But I was lucky enough to have a partner as Brian and I did it together. He had me and I had him. We all need that person to remind us we are loved and doing great. And we need that person to point out when we are using excuses or going back to the old way of thinking. I always felt lucky and blessed to not feel alone in my weight loss journey.
Helping others lose weight has become my passion over that last few years, because I don’t want anyone to ever feel alone or defeated in their journey to get healthy. This is why I have been working as a weight loss counselor for the last 2 years and now am privately offering private health coaching.
A health coach can help with educating you on how your body works so you can get healthy. They can help with a meal plan and offer support. But a counselor can provide one on one counseling which will help you with your relationship with food and emotional eating. He or she can help give you the tools and support you need to long term health and success.
If you have been struggling with emotional eating, you are not alone! I hope you found this post helpful. Please share your story below, I’d love to connect with you.
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