Are you ready to break free from emotional eating? If so, you are not alone. So many struggle with a complicated, dysfunctional, and unsettling relationship with food. This arduous relationship with food triggers a food-focused-stress-inducing internal dialogue constantly running through the mind. Thoughts such as: “What should I eat?” “I shouldn’t have eaten that.” “What is the best diet to lose weight?” “Should I log my food on an app?” “Should I count calories?” “I can’t believe I ate that.” “Do I need to skip lunch to make up for the cake I had last night?” “Is bread good or bad?” “Low-fat or low-carb or neither or both…?” Sound familiar?
This internal dialogue goes on and on and creates anxiety, stress, and feeling, well, just generally bad about yourself. These negative emotions then cause even more discomfort internally and a sense of being overwhelmed. These uncomfortable emotions likely result in mindless, stress, and emotional eating. The negative cycle then continues: food is the problem and yet food is the solution. If this sounds familiar, I assure you, there is hope to finally break free from the vicious cycle of emotional eating.
As a Wholistic Food Therapist, I primarily work with women who struggle with an emotional attachment to food and consider themselves to be stress-eaters. These six steps are always where we begin to embark on the process of healing from the deepest roots. As you heal your relationship with food, inevitably, you heal your relationship with yourself. These six powerful steps create the opportunity to make peace with food, once and for all. This approach takes you directly to the root, clears it out, and allows the opportunity to plant new seeds of a renewed vision for your life, inner strength, empowerment, self-awareness, and resiliency. Begin to follow these six steps to break free from emotional eating today.
Step 1: Create your vision and set specific goals
Creating your vision is determining what you want your relationship with food to become. Once you create your vision, you will set goals with action steps. These action steps are the specific steps you take in order to meet the goal. They set you up for success as action is the only way to move forward, to change, to align with your vision in order to reach your goals.
Step 2: Stop dieting and eat REAL food!
Diets are restrictive and often set you up for a binge because there is always an endpoint to a diet. Diets that focus on weight loss alone are not sustainable throughout your life. The changes need to be sustainable and eating REAL food is just that. When you focus on balanced, whole food nutrition, you naturally focus on what to eat, not what not to eat. The more whole and healthy your food, the healthier and happier you will become. Having balanced nutrition in a non-restrictive manner ends the deprivation-over indulgence cycle.
Step 3: Become emotionally aware
Emotional eating is driven by just that, emotions! Emotions are information about how you are experiencing your life. When you shift to become emotionally intelligent and aware, you will no longer fear experiencing your emotions. A tool that can help is journaling. Keeping an emotions journal gives you a place to express the emotion and explore why you are experiencing the emotion. For example, if you feel angry, you might write: I am angry because I am not ok with how (someone) treated me. This allows you to be present with your feeling and respond to it accordingly rather than avoid it, which will only send you back into the emotional eating cycle. Learning to identify the emotions, understand their purpose, and be present with them creates emotional awareness, freedom and peace internally.
Step 4: Get exercise and movement into your life
Movement and exercise are powerful mood lifters. If you are struggling with overwhelming emotions, exercising-- or any movement will significantly impact your process of breaking free from emotional eating. Find what exercise/movement you enjoy, that you don’t view as a chore, and do it today. Even 10 minutes of moving your body can significantly impact how you feel.
Step 5: Create a Positive Nourishment List
A Positive Nourishment List is a list of things you enjoy, you view as a treat, and that bring you a sense of fulfillment, calm, joy, and nourishment that DO NOT include food. When feeling stressed or experiencing an uncomfortable emotion, access your list and do something to help divert your energy away from emotional eating. This list will help you cope more effectively with your emotions.
Step 6: Mindful Eating
When you are present with your food you are less likely to overeat and more likely to feel satisfied. Mindful eating is just that, being present with your food without judgment or distraction; no phone, TV or social media. This allows you the opportunity to taste your food, to take in the aromas, textures, and sensations. When you are eating mindfully, you are not judging your food, not concerned about the calories, and not overthinking about what you are eating. This creates the opportunity to notice your hunger and full cues more intently, which allows you listen to your body. Emotional eating distracts attention away from the body, mindful eating allows you to be present in your body. Try challenging yourself to eat one meal or snack mindfully every day and notice what happens!
Follow these 6 steps to begin
finding freedom from emotional eating and
make peace with food today!
Want to learn more? I will be offering a 6-week online course that guides you through these steps and enhances the process of making peace with food. You can also check out my book: Wholistic Food Therapy: A Mindful Approach to Making Peace with Food. As you implement these 6 steps to freedom from emotional eating, I look forward to hearing about your progress!