Have you ever found yourself, mid-munch, hand stuffed into a bag of [insert your kryptonite snack here] and realized you weren’t even hungry… you were just [bored, sad, stressed, tired…]?
Friend, you are not alone! There are a lot of us out here who are fighting for FREEDOM from emotional eating. Can I help you out, here?
For many of us, we “caught” the habit of using food to soothe ourselves. There’s no blame here… it just happens sometimes. You scraped your knee in the driveway… mom gave you a popsicle. Chocolate is great for bad-breakups. And who can watch a movie without buttery popcorn and MnMs?! (not me!)
Strong emotions, regardless of what they are, can attach themselves to the foods we reach for at the moment of intensity.
We use food as a distraction, escape, and hiding place.
It starts with a choice, which turns into a habit, and left unchecked, becomes a STRONGHOLD. (can I get an AMEN?!)
I think just about every human has experienced some form of emotional eating. When it becomes a stronghold, anchoring us in destructive behavior, there is much need for taking action.
Are You An Emotional Eater?
How would you answer the following questions:
- Do you crave a very specific food and nothing else will satisfy?
- Do you find yourself obsessively thinking about the moment you will have that treat?
- When you are tired, stressed, sad, bored, is there a specific food you find yourself habitually reaching for?
- Are there some foods that, if in plain sight, you can’t seem to control yourself around?
- When you eat these treats, do you hide out and eat them by yourself because you’re embarrassed to eat them in front of others?
If you answered “yes” to more than one of the questions above, you may be an emotional eater.
Know the difference:
Emotional eating is typically connected to a very specific food craving with intense emotion. Physical hunger brings the sensation of an empty stomach, stomach growling, and you would be satisfied with a kale salad if that was the only thing available.
How to break free from emotional eating habits:
Take a deep breath and ask yourself:
- What am I feeling and why?
- What do I really need besides food right now? (Hint: It’s often sleep, water, or a moment of breathing and meditation)
1. Journaling: Sometimes our thoughts can circle round and round and whip us into a panic. Get it out of your head and onto paper…and leave it there. Writing out your thoughts can be very therapeutic.
2. Exercise: Walk the dog, take a walk around the block, chase your kids around the yard… just MOVE. It’s good for your body AND brain.
3. Give yourself some love: What non-food rewards do you enjoy? Take a hot bath, light some candles, listen to worship music, pray. Create a sacred space to allow your feelings to be acknowledged and released.
4. Sleep: Inadequate rest can lead to crazy carb and sweets cravings. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep on a consistent basis. I could go on and on about this one… you MUST get your sleep under control.
The solution is simple, but not easy
Breaking free from the stronghold of emotional eating takes time and intention. You can’t go into it without a plan. Know your triggers, identify healthy alternatives, and set up a support system. Ultimately, remember WHY you want to be FREE and give yourself the grace to take baby steps in the right direction.
Need help getting started? Drop a comment below. I’d love help!