Dealing with our emotion is something that historically, we have been encouraged to ignore and move on from. We are all really good at hiding how we feel, we are Brits!! Many of us turn to one thing to cope with our emotions, FOOD. But these emotions find a way to raise their ugly head, regardless of the food we eat to comfort ourselves at the time, a lot of the time it’s in our behaviour. Some people become reclusive, others snappy and irritable, those feelings never went away, we just masked them in our immediate response.
Through my own experiences, and from being fortunate enough to help hundreds of people in my business, you soon notice that patterns can arise in the nutritional habits of people. I have seen so many people that sign up to a programme, they are running on the excitement of something new, everything is going great and I see food diaries that Gwyneth Paltrow would be envious of (ok maybe not THAT extreme). Then something changes, life happens and human nature kicks in, that thing inside your head is an emotional trigger to food.
It could be anything, stress, bad news or even good news!! Our brain makes us think that the answer is food, we use food as a comfort, a lot of the time it’s because of the way we are raised and it’s something that is passed down through generations. How many times do hear someone say “It’s ok, just sit down and have a nice cup of tea and a biscuit and everything will be ok”? But is it the cup of tea and a biscuit that made us feel better or the chat that you had with said person, where they lent a n open ear and you expressed your feelings and then listened to the other person’s point of view?
Understanding why we default to craving foods in different situations is the step to unlocking the key to FINALLY achieving success with your weight loss. If you don’t deal with these issues now then they will always be with you, and you may even pass this on to your own children. I know that I wouldn’t want my son Joey to have to battle with his emotions in the way that I have had to at points in my life.
Not sure if you are emotionally eating? I want you to list the foods that you associate (if you have any at all) with the feelings and situations listed below;
- Good News/ Celebration
- Upset/ Feeling Down
- Really Busy/ No Time
- Anxious or apprehensive about something
How many of those foods were nutritious, healthy foods and how many were some form of junk?
You have to start being able to differentiate between hunger and a craving, once you have established these differences then you can recognise when it’s happening and learn to deal with it. Beware, it is not just when we have negative feelings that we behave in this way, happy feelings can be just as destroying to our health and the negative. Why do you think people always put on weight when they are in a relationship? It’s a feeling of total comfort and ease with that person that we love, it makes us drop our guard and stop hiding how much we really can eat, a feeling of satisfaction promotes over-eating. Your typical first date is a meal in a restaurant, then comes the romantic meals cooked at home, because that’s how we show someone how much we love them. We really are stuck in a cycle of showing our feelings through food.
Remember these points to consider when you want to reach for the ice cream;
- Do you actually feel hungry? If you haven’t eaten for 2-3 hours and your tummy is rumbling then you are hungry, if this isn’t the case then it’s a craving!
- When you eat these foods do you get the feeling of satisfaction or do you continue to eat? Remember this fact, no one ever overeats broccoli!!
- Do you get feelings of guilt ones you have finished eating? Again, I have never experienced feelings of guilt from broccoli!!
- Where you hungry before this situation happened or was it an instant feeling that occurred instantly? Hunger is a gradual feeling, cravings appear in an instant.
- Do you feel that there is a specific food that you need? When the human body is hungry it needs food, we may still fancy something to eat in particular but it would rarely be such a specific need for a certain food.
If you can relate to any of these points then don’t worry, you are just like the rest of us!!
But it does indicate that you need to start making change. If you don’t do something now then these habits will remain with you for life, and you will depend on food to help you deal with your feelings.
So here are some tips to start dealing with emotional eating once and for all, it really is the key to unlocking your own mental freedom from food and will allow you to finally start achieving your goals;
Being Unaware: Start to take notice of your urges to eat in a food diary, note the events leading up to you eating, what you wanted to eat and then what you actually ate. When did you realise that you were having a craving? Was it as soon as it came on, whilst you were gorging on chocolate or after you had finished the whole bar?
If you set yourself a rule that you will record everything that you eat BEFORE you eat it then it gives you some time to process what’s happening, do you need that food?
Find Replacements: There must be other actions that you could take to react to your emotions; If you are stressed a massage or walk would work better, if you feel happy just appreciate the feeling of happiness, for some it doesn’t come around that often, so just enjoy that moment. When you feel sad call a friend for a chat, a problem shared and all that!
Deal With It: As harsh as it sounds, you have to learn to deal with those difficult emotions, it won’t be easy but masking a feeling with food doesn’t eliminate it, it’s still there. Facing our emotions isn’t nice, but they are what they say on the tin, ours. We have to ride through difficult feelings because in every situation there is a chance to learn and grow, become stronger and be ready to face the next battle.
If you don’t experience the bad then how do you know when you are experiencing the good?
It’s something that will take practice and strength, but I reckon with a bit of will power YOU can do it!
Self Image: It’s the typical cycle, hate what you see in the mirror, feel self conscience, eat. That doesn’t help you deal with the issue at all, it only makes it worse and you will end up stuck in the cycle. Instead deal with the problem, why don’t you like your body? If you need to lose weight then eat well and exercise. If you require tone and muscle definition, get yourself started with a good body conditioning workout. Deal with the direct issue, don’t run away from it.
Never Get Hungry: If I am at work (currently averaging at 14-16 hour days) and I am unprepared with my food then I can guarantee what will happen. No matter what my intentions for the day are when it comes to nutrition , most days will throw a different stressful situation at me. And in that moment, when Emily is about to go to The Toll House for the coffee run, I will tell her to grab me a cake because I am hungry, unprepared and stressed. That cake doesn’t make me any less stressed and isn’t a proactive step to dealing with said issue, the cake just adds the guilt element. I realise now that it comes with running a business and is the path I have chosen, I have accepted that I can’t prevent things going wrong, but what I can prevent is how I react to them. Now I stop what I’m doing, have a workout, take 5 minutes outside, or even have a cry, then I crack on and deal with it.
I arrive at the studio armed with an abundance of healthy, nutritious food plus back up for the girls in case they don’t have anything. It may not be exactly what I think I need but it’s what I know I need, I have no reason to buy the cake!
Spend 10 minutes every evening to prepare your food for the next day, then you can’t be caught out by that spur of the moment decision where you give into your cravings.
If you would like to talk to somebody about how you can start to gain control of your emotions and how they affect your nutrition, speak to me or one of my team 01444 48412901444 484129.
PPT offer a FREE nutrition consultation, here we can identify how you use food to try and overcome your emotions, and set you realistic goals that help you to get to the root cause of why you are not achieving the weight loss that you long for.
Book a FREE consultation NOW!!