It starts off with just a few rice cakes, then a spoonful of peanut butter, then another spoonful and before you can even blink you’re elbow deep in a 6 bowls of macaroni cheese with ketchup. I’ve been there. I’ve done it. Going to bed feeling sick and gross, waking up feeling bloated, sick and gross. Not the one. Do you feel me? This is most commonly known as the classic emotional eating episode, and it doesn’t have to just be down to feeling sad. Nope, no, no, no. It can be boredom, anger, stress and even happiness sometimes? Like hella yeah I just passed that exam, I deserve this pint of Ben & Jerry’s, I am inviniccccciiiibbbble.
Firstly, I thought I’d briefly explain the differences between emotional eating and actual, physical hunger. Emotional hunger comes about very fast and you feel this need to immediately respond to it. Normally the cravings are for foods high in fats and sugar – chocolate, sweets etc. Often you feel like once you start eating, you just can’t stop, even if you feel so full ya going to burst. You often feel guilt, a loss of control and shame. Whereas actual, physical hunger is something that gradually develops and a whole range of food appeals to you! You find it easy to stop eating once satisfied and food, and experience no self-shame or negative emotions. It wasn’t until I realised just how strong the links between emotions and my own eating habits were; that I was able to take control and change this overpowering part in my life. I have, and always will be, a major foodie. But, it’s not ok to allow food to control and overpower your life and emotional state. I think it’s so important to put emotional eating patterns at rest, and actually restore the relationship we have with our bodies.
Soooo, I have developed 5 tips that help me personally to put the brakes on emotional eating. Tips that I think could help you too. You can stop emotional eating once and for all, and start enjoying ya life and meal times a whole lot more! IT IS POSSIBLE. It may not feel like it, but IT IS.
1. Give yourself other comforts Try and find other things that will give you that same emotional comfort to soothe ze soul. Whether it is a bubble bath, a Netflix series, curling up in a warm blanket, phone ya best pal or mama. Luckily, I life in a unit house with some of my best friends, so I’ll normally just drag one on a little walk. Can’t beat a lil bit of fresh air and a deep chat.
2. Limit temptations Although I’m all about treating yourself, I actually find it difficult to have foods in the house that I have a tendency to ‘overindulge’ on. Trying to keep up willpower with an open jar of Nutella lying around can actually be a little mentally draining! And personally, I’d rather put that mental energy into something bladdy else! Obviously don’t ever deprive yourself – snack packs are great for this. For instance, popcorn. Lordy lord, I love me some poppycorn. Whenever I buy a huge bag of the stuff, I can without fail polish the whole lot off in one go. Instead, I now opt for multipack bags – it makes portion control easier without the weighing out malarkey!
3. Stop and think Ok. It sounds bizarre, but this is something that really changed the game for me. I just remember one day, on the edge of a binge, I simply sat down and wrote out what I was feeling, why I was feeling it and all the food I was tempted to eat. Now, normally my brain wouldn’t even function when I was having an emotional eating sesh. But sometimes, you really have to just focus and bring consciousness into the situation. Stop and think of the pros and cons of what you’re about to do. Talk to yourself. Imagine how you’ll feel after the binge. It sounds weird, but try it! For me, the thought of that guilty feeling was enough to put an end to it. I made myself a coffee, grabbed a banana and ran a bath.
4. Eat when you’re hungry! For me, most of the times that I would emotionally overeat / binge, it was as a result of avoiding food at meal times or when I was genuinely hungry. Now, whenever I’m actually hungry, I’ll fuel myself with foods I know my body takes nutritious comfort from. Meat, rice, pasta, vegetables, fruits and WATER. It sounds so basic, but it’s something a lot of us can forget from time to time! Trying to avoid actual meals and replacing them with diet fizzy drinks and low calorie swaps is actually not all it’s made out to be. They often make you more hungry (and emosh lol) and put your body into ‘starvation mode’, where it will cling on to any bodily fat it can! SOOOO, by eating proper meals, you’re giving your body the green light to lose weigh efficiently and function properly!
5. Be nice and understand yourself. Most of the time the negative things we say and think about ourselves, we wouldn’t dare say to someone else. So, why allow it? You’re not on this earth to feel worthless and self-conscious. This is probably my biggest personal issue, and something that takes time to improve upon. But, lordy is it worth it. Give yourself a break! We all make mistakes, we all have shit days and it’s going to happen again! Someone will do something that pisses you off. Try and understand the emotions you get when this happens. Through doing this you’ll actually get to know what works to resolve these issues, and as a result, come up with new ways to tackle them that don’t involve overeating. From this, your body will realise it doesn’t need to over eat in order to overcome emotional episodes.
For more info about emotional overeating / binge eating : https://www.b-eat.co.uk/about-eating-disorders/types-of-eating-disorder/emotional-overeating
Lots of love,
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