Let’s back up a couple of years so you can really live this one with me. So my life was kind of, how do you say, falling apart? I was feeling depressed and useless, unfulfilled, with no plan or direction. I was still working a job I hated, had gained 20lbs making me feel unattractive, and was throwing a pity party for myself on the drive home. Suddenly I thought “Screw it; I’m going to get pizza.” I started planning it all out in my head, no one was at home, and I wouldn’t get caught and judged. Can you see me at home, alone, covered in sauce, eating through tears?
As you can imagine, I ate until I felt sick, the whole thing. My boyfriend was out of town working for the next two days, so I had time to dispose of the evidence. Right? Of course not. As soon as I finished the entire pizza, he came home early, waltzed right in and over to my empty box of shame, so eager, so hopeful. I can see it playing in slow motion in my head; he opens the box so slowly…
“Did you seriously eat an entire pizza?”
And that my friends, is called emotional eating. That was pretty much the point I decided something needed to be done. While healthy food choices are vital for weight loss, emotional eating is an added bonus we get to work through. Lucky for you, I’ve done the leg work and found what truly heals the problem, not just minimizes the symptoms. Many people try to go on diets, and control their food choices by restricting themselves. While emotional eating usually comes from a feeling of restriction or lack of affection, diets will just make the problem worse by creating a bigger binge after the diet is over, plus most diets are not sustainable.
Every time we are eating for reasons other than hunger, we are emotionally eating. Common emotions that lead us to overeat include: loneliness, sadness, anxiety, depression, fear, stress, as a reward, and even as self sabotage. When you are eating until you feel uncomfortable, when you weren’t even hungry, there is usually something going on in your life that you are avoiding, or don’t know how to work through. I see this “issue” appear in a relationship or career the most often, although it can be any stressor. While working through the issue will certainly bring relief, mending your relationship with food is of the utmost importance, if suffering from emotional eating.
So what are we suppose to do exactly? Mindfully Eat.
Mindful eating is essentially eating with intention, savoring your food, rather than eating for reasons other than hunger. Being fully present, and enjoying the entire experience of eating, as fulfilling and also necessary. Developing a healthy, strong relationship with food will banish your out of control binges for good.
Here are 10 tips to eat with intention, and repair your relationship with food. Just start with one or two, and add in more as you feel comfortable.
1. Eat when you feel hungry
2. Eat sitting down in a calm space, not including your car
3. Breathe, taking deep, slow breathes will help to relax and help you focus
4. Eat until you are satisfied – not stuffed *tip – push your plate to the side, and wait 10 minutes, if you are still hungry keep eating, but usually that’s enough time to feel satisfied and no longer hungry*
5. Be grateful, for where your food came from, who prepared it, who grew/raised it
6. Eat in full view of others (or with the intention if you are at home; no hiding)
7. Make it special, light a candle, use fancy plates or utensils
8. No distractions – TV, computer, conversations that are making you feel bad in any way
9. Chew your food – chewing your food at least 30 times each mouthful ensures the food is properly broken down, which makes it easier to digest for your stomach and intestines
10. Use all your senses; notice the colors, smells, textures, tastes
Emotional eating can affect anyone, and mindful eating can be done anywhere, even at work. Take the time on your lunch break to turn off the computers, and savor your food. Start with being grateful before every meal; it will have a huge effect. Developing a healthy relationship with food will have so many positive influences in your life, it is certain to spill over into other areas. For me, I started losing weight, which gave me more confidence, I went back to school, got a new career, and finally came to terms with my past. Just from slowing down and eating with intention.
Let’s make the next meal count, by slowing down, being grateful, and appreciating your delicious meal. What two tips are you going to try at your next meal? Would you like to learn more about emotional eating and how to stop for good? Curious about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary health history consultation with me today——or pass this offer on to someone you care about!