Food and Emotions should NOT BE ALLOWED to be in the same room at the same time!!! Seriously, can I get you to raise your hand if you consider yourself an emotional eater? Right now I can guess that 99% of you are putting up a hand! But I am here to tell you that you can control that! It is just another excuse in the laundry list of reasons why you cannot lose weight. You need food for fuel, for nourishment, and as the raw material for building your muscles, tissues and cells. Not for any other reason!! It’s not to comfort you after the kids drove you nuts all day long, after a bad meeting with your boss or a sitting in traffic! It’s not for easing the pain of a break up or after a fight with your husband! It’s all about fueling your body so that it can work as a well oiled machine! You would put more gas in your gas tank if the gauge said it was full! So why would you do the same to your body!
Do you associate food with love, warmth, caring, nurturing and family, at least on an unconscious level at some point? Denying yourself completely of the positive feelings and social benefits that food can provide is counterproductive in the long term. So my guess is that you want to be lean and happy, not lean and miserable!!! So you are not going to completely give up all of your favorite foods or become a social outcast but you need to demand just enough compliance in order to get the results that you want, RIGHT?!?!?
Using food for nonphysical reasons only becomes a problem when you do it as a way to cope with stress or negative emotions. Here are 3 primary reasons why you emotionally eat:
1. You eat mindlessly and impulsively, without thinking first. For example, someone once posted in my challenge groups at Easter that the peep just flew in their mouth before they could even realize what they were doing. She called it the attach of the peeps! Once she realized what happened she immediately threw them in the garbage!
2. You eat for reasons other than your physiological needs. You eat because you are at a party and it’s right there where you are socializing. You eat because you are watching a movie and everyone eats popcorn while watching a movie. You eat birthday cake because that’s just what you do at a birthday party.
3. You hold beliefs about food that don’t advance you towards your goals. You don’t believe that sugar is addictive or that cutting sugar out of your diet is going to help you lose weight. You don’t believe that hunger can be mistaken for thirst or that eating 5-6 small meals a day is going to help you lose weight.
So the first steps to combating this issue is becoming aware of when and why you eat!!!
I want you to read through this list of reasons why people eat other than hunger and put a check mark by the ones that apply to you.
1. To alleviate boredom
2. To socialize
3. To recapture a feeling or memory
4. To celebrate a special occasion
5. To fill a void or missing need
6. To feel good
7. To feel safe
8. To feel comforted
9. As a reward
10. out of habit or ritual (for example, bedtime snacking and eating in front of the TV).
The first 2 things you need to do is (1) Identify the right reasons to eat- for fuel, nutrition, health and building muscle (2) find alternative ways for you to get the good feelings you are after.
So first I want you to write down 3 things that you do in the list above and then I want you to write a positive affirmation on the other side to counteract the negative.
1. I have to eat something sweet after my dinner———> I only want something sweet because that is how I always grew up. Having dessert after dinner. I can satisfy that with a bowl of fresh fruit.
2. I deserve to have a piece of chocolate cake because I am celebrating my new job———> Just because I got a new job it doesn’t mean that I should throw my hard work at the gym out the window. Instead I am going to buy myself a new outfit for my new job! That way I still get a reward and I feel great about my body.
3. I always have popcorn at the movies————> I have worked so hard all week long is this bag of popcorn going to make me enjoy the movie any more or less? I am here for entertainment not for mindless eating.
So every time you start to feel yourself saying, I deserve this! Stop yourself and really question if it is worth it! You are working so hard not to get the results that you DESERVE and TRULY want! Think about whether or not that cake, popcorn or beer is going to be the long term solution. Or is it just a band-aid to your bad day! I want you to list things that you can do instead of eating. It’s all about changing the way you think! Making a lifestyle change is not about a fad diet or starving yourself. It’s about re thinking the way you live and think about food! It’s when you can make changes deep down to the core of your being that you can live like this forever!
It starts with AWARENESS!!!!
How to tell the difference between Physical and Emotional Hunger
Physical hunger builds up gradually, starting with a tiny grumble in the stomach, growing to full blown hunger pangs. Emotional hunger develops suddenly.
With physical hunger you can wait to have it. Emotional hunger seems to demand immediate satisfaction.
Physical hunger usually appears about 3 hours after the last meal or snack. Emotional hunger can happen at any time.
Physical hunger is usually a general desire for food. Emotional hunger is usually a desire for a specific food.
After eating for physical hunger, the hunger goes away. After emotional eating the hunger persists.
After eating for physical hunger, you get a sense of satisfaction. After eating for emotional reasons, you feel guilty!
How to determine physical versus emotional hunger. If you are hungry then drink a big glass of water. Quite often hunger is disguised as thirst. Wait 20 minutes and if you are still hungry then ask yourself. “Has it been 2 1/2 to 3 hrs since I ate last?” If it has then go ahead and have a small meal. If it hasn’t been that long reach for some fresh veggies!
Try keeping your mind busy, go outside, play with the kids, take a walk, read a book or call a friend! Keep you mind out of the kitchen and on other more important tasks!
When you do eat, eat slowly and take your time. You want to eat until you are 80% full. How are you going to know when that is if you gobble it down before you stomach even realizes that food is coming its way!
We make as many as 200 decisions about food every day, ranging from what to have for breakfast, to whether to eat every time you pass a candy dish. If you make the decisions about food emotionally, the impact on your weight and health can be destructive over time.
Make the choice today to end emotional eating! Join a group for support like mine and together we can work through emotional eating, what to eat and how much food to eat! You are not alone in this battle and it doesn’t matter how little or much weight you have to lose it can be done!!!
What do you choose? Are you going to live your life in guilt over everything you eat or are you going to feel confident in your decisions about food and ultimately the way you look in the mirror?