Did you have tuna, egg whites and spinach blended with flax oil for breakfast? No?
You’re not alone. For those us living in the developed world where food is in plentiful supply, rarely do we eat for just nourishment and sustenance.
So if we’re not eating for the logical reasons we should be, why are we eating?
If you’ve ever eaten something for the taste, as a celebration, as a commiseration, because you were angry, lonely, stressed or even just plain bored…. you are one of many people whose eating habits are ruled by their feelings and emotions. You are an Emotional Eater!
If you’ve ever avoided eating something and felt good about not eating it, you’re ALSO an emotional eater.
You see, we should not view our food as a reward or punishment… and neither should we judge ourselves as good or bad for what we have or have not eaten.
How did you become an emotional eater?
You develop your relationship with food from the moment you start to eat and are able to ‘ask’ for food… and the people around you at this time in your life are a big influence too.
Were you ever rewarded for good behaviour by a biscuit?
Were you ever punished by not being allowed to have any sweets (or even dinner!)
Did you family celebrate successes with a big meal with all the trimmings?
No-one intends to do it, but very often our relationship with food is damaged when we are very young by those closest to us. We learn that food is a reward! We attach feelings of self-worth, success, comfort and achievement to eating, in particular, to eating ‘treats’.
Unfortunately, like most quick fixes, the gratification derived from comfort eating is soon followed by a sense of guilt and feeling like a failure, which triggers low mood – which in turn triggers the need to comfort through eating.
There seem to be a lot of ‘fixes’ for emotional eating out there… but can they really work?
After all, emotions and food are inexorably linked in our everyday life, from when you feel good for NOT going into McDonalds for a big mac meal to how nice it is for your significant other to buy you chocolates or take you for a nice meal….
So if someone says they can get you to quit the emotional treadmill be very skeptical… chances are they’re not just going to stop you eating, they’re going to have stop you feeling too – and who wants that? Life is for living and enjoying, feeling the highs and the lows and connecting with people. Feelings and emotions are great!
We can, however, work on our emotional eating and fine tune it to our advantage… just like someone who loves dance goes and takes dancing lessons to become a better dancer, we can do some homework on our eating patterns and become better eaters!
Emotional Eating Re-work Step One: Spice up your life!
Make sure you have enough rewards, enjoyment and comfort in your life before you even think about food. Despite what you may think, we have a limit on how much comfort and reward we need in order to feel satisfied, and hey, you’re not a BAD person, are you? Why not simply work some rewards into your life as a NORMAL thing to have… that way you won’t be left with any food swallowing voids. If there is a void, it means you didn’t get enough of what you needed and the person in control of that? YOU!
Here are some examples… have a weekly massage, try a new treatment every week at the beauty salon, go to the cinema, have a day out, get a taxi home, leave your washing at the launderette, see your friends, make something, get a hobby, get a pet, get a pen pal, buy some new makeup….
You’ll be able to think of many more things that relate more closely to what is a treat FOR YOU. Make a list and take action now… from you list, how many of those things can you do: daily, once a week, once a month?
Now set to work and get them scheduled! Book appointments, write them in your diary, shop for anything you need, make the phone calls.
You must do this now, or straight after reading this article, or old habits will take over and you’ll go and sit on the sofa with a tea and a biscuit. Believe me! Unless you do it now, you won’t do it!
Emotional Eating Re-work Step Two: Plenty of fish in the sea!
Or plenty of other food that could go in the cupboard. Maybe you can’t have the food you’re currently in love with, but there are many others that are just as good… and good for you too!
The second thing you can is realize that it’s ok to eat for pleasure, but it’s not ok to fill your precious, only-get-one-so-must-look-after-it body, with junk.
Take a pen and make a list of your top 10 comfort foods, things you eat when bored, alone, tired or stressed, happy or sad. You know what they are!
Now write another list of 10 things, these items are to be foods that you like, AND that are good for you… for example, strawberries, dark chocolate, dried fruits, cashew nuts etc.
If you need to, imagine you are walking down the aisles of your local supermarket and use this to help jog your memory of the thousands of foods there are out there.
Keep going until you have 10. Really work on this list!
Once you have your ten, make sure that you have them available in your cupboards at all times. Never let them run out! Go shopping immediately or order them online!
The items on your first list, your top 10 junk items, are not allowed in your house. You may bump into them when you’re out and about, but that’s ok. Just not at home!
Now when you need a ‘comfort treat’, you’ll need less of a boost because you’re already treating yourself like the special person that you are with other non-food delights… and when you do go cupboard searching, you’ll find foods that are GOOD for your body as well as good for your soul…
… and emotional eating has now become less of an enemy and food is once again something you can feel free to enjoy!
>> A diet that I highly recommend, that will help you fight of cravings, and is NOT based on fad dieting, and will also help you lose up to 10 pounds of fat in the next 2 weeks, is this program HERE. I used this diet before and my results were absolutely amazing (over 50 pounds in 2 months). Learn more about it at http://FatLossIn11Days.info
Joanne Milsom is a leading Personal Trainer and Diet Coach who has helped thousands of people achieve their goals over the last decade. She is the author of the book Dumbells Are A Girl’s Best Friend and creator of The 8 Week Diet Programme.
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