If you identify as an emotional eater, then I bet that you wish you could wave your magic wand and make the guilt, the shame, and the obsession with food just GO AWAY. I bet you wish that you could just stop eating your emotions. And I bet that you are in constant dialogue with yourself in a way that is far from compassionate or kind. I empathize with you, and I understand the pain that comes with emotional eating.
It is possible to change your relationship with food, and it may surprise you that going on the next new and improved diet is not the answer to your prayers. As an Health Coach with specialized training in emotional eating, I am sharing with you a few tips to get you started on your journey toward peace and happiness. These are a few simple yet effective strategies you can use to tackle emotional eating and break free of the cycle.
1. Awareness and self-compassion. The first step in healing from emotional eating is being able to identify when you are doing it. We all emotionally eat. Breaking the pattern of emotional eating is a process. You will not change your habits in one day. Approach your efforts with compassion and nonjudgmental curiosity. When you identify a pattern, there is no need to force or shame yourself into changing. Simply take note and make small steps toward shifting.
2. Feel your feelings. I understand that you may not want to feel the emotions, but this step is critical in the healing process. In my coaching programs I help you to eat what you want when you are hungry, and to feel what you feel when you are not.
3. Practice mindful eating as opposed to mindless eating. When stuck at home, many of us find ourselves compulsively opening cabinets and checking the fridge, even if we just ate! Many of our emotional eating habits are just that: habits. The more we can slow down and pay mindful attention to our cravings and actions, the more we can regain control. Slowing down helps us identify when we are turning to food as a coping mechanism versus for nourishment.
4. Check in with yourself frequently. Ask yourself grounding questions and respond honestly. For example, when a craving strikes, where do you feel it? Is it in your stomach? your chest? your mind? What does the craving want? What are you hungry for specifically? something salty? something sweet? When you have a craving, can you pause long enough to imagine eating the food and feeling truly better after? There are no “right” answers. Just get in the habit of checking in with yourself and noting your honest responses.
5. Stay hydrated. Did you know that dehydration can feel like hunger? When you feel the urge to snack, it could actually be your body telling you it’s thirsty, not hungry. Try drinking a full glass of water before reaching for food. You can add some lemon or cucumber for flavor. Check back in with yourself after you finish a glass and see if it’s done the trick!
6. Re-engineer your food environment. Your food environment refers to your influences and immediate surroundings as it relates to food. Our food environment can play a big role in our eating habits. There are a million small ways to hack your food environment, and I love to teach these inside of my group coaching programs. Changing my food environment was a game changer for me.
Start today. Choose one of the above suggestions and try working on it with self-compassion.
If you know you need help on this journey, then I invite you to join me inside of one of my upcoming group coaching programs exclusively for emotional eaters.
Don’t you deserve the opportunity to heal your relationship with food?
Click here to learn about upcoming programs for you!