Steps To Overcome Emotional Eating

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

Stress!

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?

Social Pressure!

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.

Habits/Boredom

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.

Click Here to Request a Free Consultation.

Help for the Stress Eater?

As someone who was overweight for many years, I found my biggest challenge was stress eating. You know what I mean, eating when you are not hungry. Whenever I was stressed to the max, I would literally eat my feelings.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about…

Imagine this….

It is the hectic holiday season and life has been crazy busy. On top of the financial stress and holiday shopping, you are working long days at a hectic job. After a very manic day, you decide to stop by the store and pick up something quick for dinner. While out shopping for something to make for dinner you see some cookies or cakes. And without even thinking about it, you buy the cookies. You may even open them up and eat them in the car before you make it all the way home.

This sort of scenario would happen to me all the time. And then once I would get home, I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from eating more of the cookies.

I would have thoughts going through my head like…“I deserve this!”

I would try to limit myself to a little bit. But it would always seem that it would be gone by the end of the night.

The next day I think to myself, “What is wrong with me?” 

I feel disgusted with myself.

Many people who struggle with their weight also struggle with stress eating. And often people eat just to eat. Have you ever wondered why this happens?

I think the reason why it happens to most of us is that we are looking to feel better. We are looking for a way to calm ourselves down. For some reason, eating is soothing and tends to make us feel better, until the next day when we feel like crap. I remember waking in the morning after a binge feeling awful. I would be all gassy and even have a headache. I would be full of lots of regret for what I ate the night before.

My weight and food obsession was a real problem for many years. When I turned 50 I was just under 200 pounds. I knew I needed to make a change.

And I did. But it took a lot of hard work. I had to totally change my relationship with food. And I had to admit to myself that I was a sugar addict.

Now I eat to nourish my body. And I feel so much better. I am no longer addicted to sugar and carbs like I was.  I don’t feel the need to pig out when I’ve had a bad day. I find other ways to feel good.

But getting to this point wasn’t easy. It was really difficult. I had to eliminate all of the processed foods that I was obsessed with.

By eliminating the sugar and carbs I also ended up losing over 60 pounds. But more importantly, I am healthy and probably added years to my life.

I also read lots of books that dealt with the issue of stress eating. I wanted to figure out what was going on in my head. I felt so out of control around food which stressed me out because I was so in control of every other aspect of my life.

image courtesy of amazon.comOne of the books I recommend reading is: Busy, Stressed, and Food Obsessed!: Calm Down, Ditch Your Inner-Critic Bitch, and Finally Figure Out What Your Body Needs to Thrive

 

This book helped me to realize that I wasn’t crazy at all. I learned that food isn’t meant to make me feel calm or happy. It isn’t meant to help me emotionally. Food is simply to feed my body. I learned other ways of dealing with many of the negative emotions that I felt in my life.

I also learned that when I give my body really nutritious food I feel amazing. I have energy and for some reason, I feel happy and healthy. On the other hand, when I eat food that raises my glucose I feel depressed and even sad.

So I will never go back to eating sugar again. Sugar is an addictive drug to me that I don’t want a part of.

What about you? Do you stress eat? And if so, how do you deal with it?