1. Start a Gratitude Journal
2. Write Someone a Letter
4. Practice Gratitude Rituals
You’ve probably already heard that if you want to heal your emotional eating and have a healthy relationship with food and your body, you need to show yourself some love. But loving yourself is easier said than done. Where do you start? If you struggle with emotional eating or even body image, here are 4 ways that you can start showing yourself more love.
1. Ask for What You Need
Whether you’re feeling alone, unsupported or just simply overwhelmed, realize it’s okay to ask for help. If you need to carve out some alone time during your hectic week, pull back on some commitments or even take a mental health day from work, do what’s best for you. There is no shame is asking for help and setting boundaries for your own well-being. When you ask for what you need, you are showing your self some much needed love and respect.
2. Forgive Yourself
This is a big one. Often at the root of eating challenges is a desire to be better than you are. Maybe you want to weigh less or have a different body shape, be more attractive, more successful and be as flawless as possible! The truth is, you’re human. You’re going to have flaws and you’re going to make mistakes. By accepting this and forgiving yourself for all the imperfections, you are giving yourself permission to be you and let go of the impossible standard you are trying to achieve. Forgive yourself for any mistake you make and move on – this is how you show yourself love.
3. Prioritize the Things that are Important to You
Take a few minutes to think of all the things that are important to you and write them down. Your list may include family, friends, work, health, hobbies, spirituality, charity work and more. Now take a moment to evaluate if you are prioritizing what is important to you. Perhaps your friends are important to you, but you’ve been so busy with other things that you haven’t made time to call or get-together with your friends. Maybe you love to do arts and crafts but you haven’t made the time because of other commitments. When things get out of balance in our lives, we get more stressed and that can trigger emotional eating. By prioritizing all the things that are important to you, it is easier to achieve balance. When you make time for the things that are important to you, you’re showing yourself love and will feel happier and more fulfilled.
4. Practice Self-Care
Along with prioritizing the things that are important to you is practicing self-care on a regular basis. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or depressed, it’s easy to neglect your own basic needs. Self-care plays a significant role in maintaining physical and emotional health. Self-care can be as simple as practicing proper hygiene to eating regularly, having a good sleep routine, to practicing meditation, mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
Loving yourself requires some inner work, and these steps can help get you there. If you find yourself struggling with these steps, remember that it’s okay to ask for help and it’s important to have a strong support system. Talking to a trusted friend or a professional therapist can help guide you in your efforts.
When you start to show yourself more love, you’ll be amazed at the power it has in healing your emotional eating, food and body challenges.
Want to get off the diet roller coaster, stop eating emotionally, and lose weight? Get my Emotional Eating Quiz.
The new year is just around the corner, and while December brings a whirlwind of festivities and events, January is a time to slow down and set new intentions. One resolution I’d suggest you set for 2018 is to practice more self-care.
At the foundation of managing emotional eating is self-care. When we don’t practice self-care, we are more prone to stress, anxiety, overeating, binge eating, and having negative body image. In contrast, when we prioritize our well-being, it is easier to achieve balance in our lives and thus, manage emotional eating.
Research has shown that achieving big goals is accomplished by setting smaller, more-attainable goals. In other words, baby steps! Here are five small steps you can take this year towards better self-care:
1. Eliminate unnecessary stress
While living stress-free is not a realistic goal, you should aim to eliminate as much unnecessary stress as possible. To do this, you must first identify your stressors. What is draining your energy? Social media? People? Your lack of boundaries or inability to say “no”? Perhaps you need to part ways with the things or people adding to your stress. Don’t feel guilty for letting go of anything that no longer serves you. Simplify your life and you will feel a heavy weight be lifted off your shoulders!
2. Add in more pleasure
Make time to do the things that make you happy. You shouldn't feel guilty about making choices that cater to your happiness instead of someone else's. Invest in yourself and reduce the effects of stress by adding more pleasure into your life. Whether it’s arts and crafts, dancing, yoga, reading or traveling, make time for the activities that energize you and bring you joy.
Journaling is a powerful tool for emotional eating and well-being. Writing about stressful events, for example, helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors and the negative emotions they may trigger. Another benefit to journaling is the opportunity to express gratitude. According to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, stopping to list what you're grateful for just once a week can help you feel more optimistic and better about life!
4. Nurture Healthy Relationships
Having social connections is important for our emotional well-being. Having healthy relationships provides us with love, support and confidence. To build strong relationships, you need to nurture them. Different friends can provide different things – laughter and fun, emotional support, intellectual stimulation, or even intimacy. Make it a priority to connect with close friends or family once a week – whether it’s a phone call, email, or date!
5. Mindful Eating
Slow down! When we eat too quickly and mindlessly, we tend to overeat. This is because our brain gets the signal too late (or not at all!) that we’re satisfied with our food. Set an intention to eat all your meals sitting down and distraction-free (no smartphone or TV). Take the opportunity to pay attention to what you’re eating – engage all 5 senses. When you slow down the eating process, you will feel more satisfied, prevent overeating and improve your digestion.
This year, put your health and happiness first with these 5 intentions! By practicing more self-care, you will be better equipped to manage stress and emotional eating.
Want to learn more? Sign up for my FREE Emotional Eating Toolkit which will help you learn how much emotional eating is affecting you.
It’s that time of year when you are surrounded by family, friends and…FOOD! While the holidays are often an excuse for overindulgence, you can get through them without eating everything in sight. The key is to simply eat mindfully, not mindlessly. Easier said than done?
To navigate all those social gatherings coming up, here are some top tips for surviving the Holiday Season:
1. Drink Water
Did you know that when you think you’re hungry, you may just be thirsty?! Ensure you are fully hydrated by drinking water throughout the day and when you’re out, to avoid overeating caused by thirst.
It’s also important to stay hydrated when consuming alcohol. If you do drink, there’s no need to avoid alcohol completely, but keep in mind that it does dehydrate you. That’s why it’s a good idea to drink a glass of water between alcoholic beverages.
2. Practice Mindful Eating
End-of-year stress and holiday desserts can get the better of our cravings. While you don’t need to avoid the sweets altogether, just practice mindfulness to manage overeating. The key to mindful eating is awareness. Savour each bite, take your time (chew slowly) and fully enjoy the taste of what you’re eating! Between bites, put your fork down while you chew. This gives your body enough time to send signals to your brain that you are satisfied.
3. Take Time for Self-Care
The holidays can be stressful so make sure you take some time for yourself. Whether it’s having some quiet time by yourself or with a loved one, carve some time to relax, rejuvenate and refresh! Now is the perfect time of year to take a hot bubble bath, enjoy a cup of tea, or curl up on your couch with a good book.
Also consider making time for some physical activity as a form of self-care! Whether it’s going for a walk by yourself, or planning a fun family outing like skating, getting some physical activity may be just what your body needs during the holidays. Just remember to choose something you’ll enjoy for optimal benefits.
4. Eat Regular Portions
Whatever you do, don’t tell yourself that this is a “cheat day” and you’ll start a diet tomorrow. That type of yo-yo dieting can have detrimental effects on your health and keeps you in a vicious cycle of emotional eating. Instead, take regular portions of the food you want to eat. You don’t need to fill up your plate with everything in sight – but you don’t need to avoid everything either. Try to listen to your body - serve yourself a regular portion and then go back for more if you’re still hungry.
The holidays should be a time to be merry, not something you dread. By following these tips – practicing self care and mindful eating – you can enjoy the holiday season, be festive, and still manage your emotional eating!
Like any emotion, we’ve all experienced sad feelings. For some, feelings of sadness may come and go briefly, while for others, they may be persistent and overwhelming due to unexpected changes in your life. While it’s absolutely normal to feel sad at times, for emotional eaters, this may trigger uncontrollable binges and overeating. Learning how to deal with your sad feelings is crucial for managing emotional eating.
How Can You Deal with Sad Feelings?
Sad feelings don't have to trigger out-of-control eating. To manage emotional eating, we need to deal with our sad feelings in a healthy way.
Here are some ways to experience normal sadness so that it doesn’t lead to emotional eating:
1. Allow yourself to be sad
Denying your feelings and trying to bury them is what drives you to emotionally eat in the first place. Instead, allow yourself to be sad (or experience whatever emotion you are feeling). Cry if you feel like it. Something that works for me is repeating to myself, “It’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to feel this way” repeatedly. This allows me to sit with my feelings and accept them instead of pushing them away.
2. Take time to think about your feelings and writing them down
Why are you feeling sad? Have you experienced a loss or painful experience? Did someone hurt you through their actions or words? Are there other words to describe what you are feeling? Often feeling sad could be better expressed with specific words such as feeling frustrated, embarrassed, lonely or disappointed. Exploring your feelings, especially in writing, can help you process the sadness and help you feel better.
3. Get support
Call a close friend or family member – someone you trust. Expressing your feelings to others can help you process them. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, consider speaking with a therapist. Not only will they listen, but they can help you fully understand and process your feelings while giving you tools to manage your emotions on your own.
4. Practice Self-Care
Be sure to be kind to yourself. Be gentle and loving with your thoughts and actions. Care for yourself with anything that feels good – such as a hot bath, taking a nap, or going for a walk. Self-care could also be letting yourself laugh by watching a funny movie or socializing with friends. Even when you’re feeling sad, be sure to make time for yourself and take care of yourself however you see fit – because you deserve it!
While sadness is a feeling we all try to avoid, it’s inevitable that we will feel it now and then. The silver lining is that feeling sad can signal the need for a change in your life such as connecting more with others, healing a relationship, or dealing with a past trauma. This can be stressful and a difficult journey, but it is absolutely necessary for growth. If you're sad because you need to change something in your life, think about the steps you can take to make your life more enjoyable!
When we accept and allow ourselves to feel sad and process these feelings, we won’t be triggered to emotionally eat. When we deal with our feelings in a healthy way, we can enjoy a normal relationship with food – free from emotional eating.
Self-care is one of the foundations for healing emotional eating. But if you struggle with self-acceptance and self-love, you may find practicing self-care challenging. When you learn to accept yourself fully, you will find self-care comes much more naturally and instinctively. If you struggle with body image and self-esteem, self-acceptance is necessary to grow and heal.
Below are Six Simple Steps to Self-Acceptance so that you can learn to love yourself and as a result, heal your eating challenges.
If you are constantly worried about your weight, your appearance, and your eating habits, you are distracted from living your life to the fullest. Instead of wasting your energy of worrying about food, eating, and criticizing yourself, that energy could be put towards relationships, accomplishments, and passions. Pay attention to where your energy is being spent and if it’s too focused on food, eating and weight, consider how you can redistribute your energy. Are there other interests and passions that are being ignored?
2. Accept Yourself as You Are Right Now
It might be very challenging for you to accept yourself as you are right now. Individuals who struggle with their body image and self-esteem may be comparing themselves to others, wishing for perfection, and constantly criticizing themselves. If this sounds like you, consider how you would treat and speak to a child or good friend. Chances are, you’d be gentle, kind and understanding. When you change your perspective, you may realize how harshly you’ve been treating yourself!
3. Really Get to Know Yourself
In order to accept yourself fully, you need to know who you are! Remember that you are more than just a body. At the core, what are your values? What physical and non-physical attributes do you like about yourself? What do you like to do? What are you good at and what you do want to be good at? Taking the time to fully know and understand yourself brings you one step closer to loving and accepting yourself!
4. Listen to Your Body
Your body in an amazing machine that does everything from regeneration, growth, and repair. Its actually sending you signals all the time whether relating to hunger, body temperature, fatigue or pain. Take some time to pay attention to these cues. Do you pay attention when you get hungry? What about when you start to feel full? Listening to your body is a large component to having a healthy relationship with your body and your self.
5. Nurture Your Body
Practice giving your body what it wants and needs. Whether its getting your hair or nails done, getting a massage, buying yourself a new outfit, moving more or getting more rest, treat yourself with care. When you honour your needs by taking care of your body, you show yourself and the world that you deserve love and care.
6. Don’t Hold Back
Instead of putting your life on hold until you reach an arbitrary goal like losing weight, remind yourself that this is your life and you’re here to live it fully! This means making life choices that bring you happiness and joy. Is there any area you’ve been holding back? Whether it’s in a relationship, your career, or other personal endeavours, don’t hold back. Be fearless in your pursuit for living a vibrant life that you want and deserve!
Don’t waste your time and energy being worried about your weight, your appearance, and your eating habits. Instead, live life to the fullest! Accept yourself by learning who you are, what you want and where your energy is better spent. Really listen to your body and nurture it by giving it what it wants and needs.
When you practice self love, care and acceptance, you can heal your emotional eating and enjoy your life.
We always hear how great meditation is for us and it has become a popular method to manage stress and anxiety. There are many different types of meditation - one that I have seen to be very beneficial for emotional eating is mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is a type of meditation that helps you learn a simple thing: to pay attention and to be present. This type of meditation has been shown to be effective for helping with anxiety and depression and involves several different types of practices. Techniques that you can practice include deep breathing, body scan, walking meditation, and mindful eating.
How can it help emotional eating?
Emotional eaters turn to food for comfort – often in an attempt to escape uncomfortable or intense feelings. The practice of mindfulness meditation gives us the opportunity to become more present with ourselves just as we are. It means paying attention to our thoughts, feelings and sensations – without judging or rejecting anything. Instead of struggling to get away from experiences or feelings we find difficult or uncomfortable, we practice being able to be with them. And when we learn to sit with our feelings, we can manage our emotions and lessen our need to use food for comfort.
Sounds good, right? If you’re ready to give it a try, keep reading for some Mindfulness Meditation Techniques that you can start practicing right away!
Mindfulness Meditation Techniques:
1. Deep Breathing
One of the most basic mindfulness meditations is a breathing meditation. This technique is to simply focus your attention on your breath, the inhale and exhale. Techniques can differ – either by counting your breaths or by simply observing each breath without trying to adjust it. If it’s the latter, you can focus on the rise and fall of your chest or the sensation through your nostrils. You may find that your mind wanders, distracted by thoughts or bodily sensations. That’s okay. Just notice that this is happening and gently bring your attention back to your breath.
Try a short breathing exercise in my Free Emotional Eating Quiz.
2. Body Scan
Body Scan Meditation is an exercise that guides you to focus your attention on different parts of your body – from head to toes! This body scan provides an opportunity for you to experience your body as it is, without judging or trying to change it. It creates a mindful awareness of your physical sensations and helps to relieve tension you may not have been aware of. UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center has provided a free Body Scan Meditation that you can find here.
3. Walking Meditation
This is a mindfulness practice which involves focusing closely on the physical experience of walking and paying attention to the specific components of each step. Walking meditation can help increase awareness of our physical sensations as well as our surroundings, which helps to bring us into the present moment. By paying attention to the process of walking, we can appreciate and enjoy what our body does for us. This awareness and appreciation – created by any mindfulness practice—can help us gain a greater sense of control over our thoughts, feelings, and actions, allowing us to better manage negative thoughts or emotions.
4. Mindful Eating
When mindfulness is applied to eating, it can help you recognize your patterns and behaviors, while bringing attention to bodily cues associated with hunger and fullness. This is key for preventing overeating and managing emotional eating.
Sign up for my Free Emotional Eating Toolkit for a mindful eating exercise.
You can also check out my previous blog all about Mindful Eating here.
If you struggle with emotional eating, Mindfulness Meditation is a practice that can help! If there is only one technique you want to work on, start with your breath. When you notice that you have gotten so caught up in thoughts that you have forgotten where you are and end up overeating or binge eating, gently bring yourself back to your breath. This will help bring you back to the present moment.
And remember that the goal is to be mindful of whatever is happening, without judging yourself – even when you are experiencing intense, overwhelming feelings. When you are able to be present with your thoughts and feelings, you can finally free yourself from emotional eating for good!
Do you have an evening routine that you follow? Many emotional eaters struggle with overeating in the evening; at the end of a long and busy day, it’s easy to turn to food for some comfort and pleasure. If you struggle with emotional eating, and are looking for a solution to stop that late-night binge, consider incorporating an evening self-care routine.
Self-care is one of the fundamental ways to heal emotional eating. Self-care grounds you and can be a source of familiarity – especially if you follow a daily routine. During times where you are feeling physically, mentally or emotionally drained, your self-care routine can give you consistency and stability. This, in turn, will decrease your desire to turn to food.
Building an evening routine should be an individualized-approach.
Ask yourself these questions to help you determine what your ideal evening self-care routine could look like:
· Are there things I’m not doing that I’d like to be doing to care for myself?
· Am I taking care of my physical, mental and emotional health?
· What are some things I can do at night to relax and rejuvenate?
If these questions reveal that you do need to practice more self-care, make it a priority! If you have a family, communicate with them your need to spend 15, 20, or 30 minutes to take care of yourself every night. Hopefully, they will be supportive and understanding of this request. But if they aren’t, calmly explain that you are setting a healthy boundary for yourself. Self-care is necessary and you deserve to give yourself that love and care.
How to Build Your Evening Routine
There are 2 components to include in your Evening Routine: Self-Reflection and Rejuvenating Activities
1. Self Reflection
Daily self-reflection is a great way to support your body and mind, and an example of this is journaling. Whether you make a gratitude list, rant about your day or write about feelings you’ve been avoiding, journaling is an excellent tool to self-reflect.
Some people like to verbalize emotions through spoken or written words, while others express these emotions through drawing, dancing, singing, or playing music. Other examples of self-reflection include meditation, prayer, or spending some quiet time alone with your thoughts.
2. Rejuvenating Activities
Self-care is about identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. This means taking the time to do activities that nurture and rejuvenate you. Self-care is about taking proper care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others.
Here are some examples of rejuvenating activities you can incorporate into your evening routine:
· Taking a Hot Shower / Bath
· Burning Candles
· Drinking Herbal Tea
· Diffusing Essential Oils
· Stretching / Yoga
Your evening routine should be individualized so do what feels good for you! Remember that you can practice self-care any time throughout your day as well, but if you need to start somewhere, making an evening routine is the perfect opportunity!
Having an evening self-care routine means taking the time to do activities that nurture and rejuvenate you. Taking proper care of yourself in this way can reduce your need to emotionally eat and aid in addressing the underlying emotions causing the emotional eating.
Let’s talk about food cravings. A powerful desire comes over you and you can’t take your mind off of a certain food. Maybe it’s a cheeseburger, fries, chocolate cake or chips. Regardless of what it is, we’ve all experienced food cravings at some point. However, individuals who experience overeating or emotional eating may battle intense food cravings on a daily basis. This can be extremely overwhelming and hard to manage. And typically, cravings are usually for foods high in fat, sugar, salt or carbs. As a result, if we constantly eat to satisfy our food cravings, it may lead to weight gain, poor digestion and other health issues.
There are several contributing factors that may trigger cravings. The onset of food cravings may be caused by hunger, food deprivation (extreme dieting), emotional upset, or even boredom. While some people attempt to control their cravings through will-power or distraction alone, finding the source of your cravings can help to manage them in a healthier way!
To deal with food cravings, ask yourself these 3 Questions:
1. Am I Eating the Right Foods?
Cravings, especially for sweets and sugar, are often the result of an imbalanced diet. If you aren’t getting enough healthy protein and healthy fats in your diet, you won’t feel satisfied and this can cause cravings. To ensure you’re eating a balanced diet, try to incorporate as much whole, unprocessed foods as possible!
Healthy protein options include fish, chicken, meat, plant-based protein shakes, yogurt, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Healthy fats include avocados, eggs, cheese, olive oil, chia seeds and flaxseeds.
2. Am I Eating Enough?
There’s a lot of noise and misinformation regarding food, nutrition and weight loss. We often think if something worked for one person, it will work for everyone – but this simply isn’t true! There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to health. So, while you may think you’re eating healthy foods, you may be eliminating too much in an attempt to lose weight quickly. This backfires as not eating enough causes intense cravings as the body attempts to find balance.
And this doesn’t just apply to your total daily food intake, but to each meal and snack as well. Do you often skip meals or wait too long to eat? Notice when you do this, you’re much more likely to experience cravings as you’ve gotten to a point of extreme hunger. Oftentimes, overeating is caused by imbalanced meals and not eating enough earlier in the day. If you notice you get cravings specifically in the evening or night-time, schedule balanced meals (and snacks) throughout the day.
3. Is there something else (not food) that I’m craving?
Are you craving food because you’re rewarding yourself or seeking comfort from a bad day? When we have this mentality and use food as a reward system, we are using food to address our emotions. Instead, figure out what you’re really craving. Looking for comfort? Chances are, you just want something to make you feel good. Instead of relying on food, maybe talk to a friend, ask a loved one for a hug, journal, or have a bath instead.
Are you trying to mask anger or sadness? While its easy to mindlessly turn to food, this doesn’t address what we’re feeling and why. When you’re experiencing intense food cravings, pause and see if you can identify what you’re feeling. Just learning to recognize your emotions is an important step towards managing emotional eating!
Food cravings may or may not be related to hunger. Act as your own personal investigator and figure out if your cravings are physical or emotional.
If you’re craving junk food, although it may seem counter-intuitive, what your body really is asking for is nutrient-dense foods. Prioritize balanced meals and snacks. If you make these changes and still experience intense cravings, its likely that you’re trying to escape from feeling uncomfortable emotions. Ask yourself what you’re really craving. It may be more love, intimacy, connection or comfort.
Satisfy these emotional cravings with self-care instead of food – a guaranteed approach to manage food cravings and emotional eating.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you feel? Are you content with how you look? Do you accept your body as it is or do you feel ashamed of your body?
Body image is simply what we imagine our body to be. It includes all our thoughts and feelings about how our body looks. Several things influence our body image including culture, family, friends, and the media. Unfortunately, many people these days struggle with a poor body image and it can influence our health in many ways. We may turn to extreme dieting which can lead to nutritional imbalances and trigger emotional eating. If you struggle with emotional eating, improving your body image can have huge benefits for your self-esteem and your relationship with food.
Most people try to heal their negative body image by trying to change their body. They may turn to diet and exercise, or even surgery to manipulate their body. But even having an “ideal body” (by cultural and media standards) doesn’t guarantee self love and a positive body image. Luckily, the opposite also rings true – having an “imperfect body” doesn’t mean you’ll have a negative body image. Sounds good, right? To get rid of the pressure to have a “perfect body” and just be happy with yourself?
So, if extreme dieting and exercise don’t lead to a positive body image, what does?
Here are 5 Ways to Improve your Body Image:
1. Focus on Nourishing your Body (Self-Care)
Nourishment is both physical and emotional. Physical nourishment is giving our body nutritious foods for energy and vitality. Focusing on nutrition for optimal wellness instead of weight loss can help heal your body image because the focus is on self-care. Similarly, emotional nourishment is also self-care – through love, affection and connection. Focusing on nourishment instead of restrictive dieting can have a positive effect on our body image because we are focusing on taking care of ourselves and showing our body the love it deserves.
2. Focus on the Joy of Movement rather than Exercise
If you missed my previous blog on Movement versus exercise, you can read it here. Eliminate any punishing exercise and experiment with any kind of movement you may enjoy. Consider dance, yoga, Pilates, walking, or playing with your kids outside! Focus on being present and in your body while you move instead of focusing on changing your body with punishing exercise.
3. Control Media Exposure
There are many ways we affirm our negative body image with one of them being images we see in the media. Constantly reading magazines with photoshopped images can make us feel less than and unattractive. Reading diet books or blogs can feed into our tendency to diet. Consider taking a break from these things and instead, focus on body positive messages, practicing self-care or unrelated areas of personal interest.
4. Avoid Talking about your Appearance
Have you ever caught yourself complaining about your weight or appearance to a friend? Do they make their own comments of body hate? Talking and obsessing over our appearance is another way we affirm our negative body image. Notice what you and your friends talk about and try to refrain from conversing about your body in a negative way – which only feeds your negative body image. Instead, speak kind works of encouragement to each other and focus on giving and receiving love and support.
5. Let Go of the Numbers
Whether it’s the on the scale, measuring tape, or in your jeans, let go of the number. Most people try to heal their negative body image by aiming for an impossible-to-reach standard. Even if you think its attainable, let go of the pressure to be a certain size or weight. Your self worth isn’t determined by your weight or appearance. You are so much more than that! Realize that and remind yourself every day that you are worthy. Health comes in all different shapes and sizes!
Healing body image is all about creating a new relationship with your body. Just a reminder that this will take time and requires lots of practice. Start by implementing one strategy at a time. When you learn to love your body just as it is, you can heal emotional eating and truly be content and at peace with yourself.
Taking care of your body is an imperative part of wellness, but healthy habits driven by fear and punishment aren’t very healthy at all and can actually hinder you from reaching your wellness goals. Too often, we view self-care as a chore and add things like eating healthy and exercise to our long list of things to do. You may feel pressured – from unrealistic standards set by society - to do a specific kind of workout, follow a specific diet, avoid certain foods, or lose a set amount of weight. But if you’re taking care of yourself like it’s a chore or worse, a punishment, you’re missing the pleasure aspect of self-care. And when we miss out on pleasure, we’re missing a key component to our total wellness.
Humans have an innate desire to experience pleasure. We want to feel good rather than bad. And likely, our association with pleasure is feeling happy, relaxed, peaceful, and alive. We tend not to experience pleasure when we’re stressed, anxious, too busy or in a rush. If we don’t take the time to slow down and experience pleasure in our lives, we will continue to crave it and feel dissatisfied. Emotional eaters, in particular, will turn to food as a substitute for pleasure because its lacking in their lives.
The solution is simple – experience more pleasure! But how, are we supposed to experience pleasure when we’re always busy, with a million things to do and no time to do it in? How can we experience pleasure when we’re dreading our exercise regime? Taking care of yourself and your body should be enjoyable, so that you can experience pleasure in your journey of wellness and working on your health. This is what self-care is all about!
I encourage you to evaluate your eating and exercise habits and consider if you enjoy them or if they’re a burden. If you realize that there’s very little pleasure in your life right now, how can you change that? Can you find some pleasure in taking care of yourself?
Food & Eating
While emotional eating is using food to provide you with comfort and pleasure, its still okay to enjoy your food – without eating your feelings. Mindful eating allows us to eat slowly, be present with our meal and pay attention to all our senses. When you eat, do you take the time to notice how your food smells? How it looks? What its texture is and how it tastes? Taking the time to notice these things pulls us into the present and allows us to enjoy the food we’re eating. Therefore, mindful eating allows us to take pleasure in our food – in a healthy way! In contrast, emotional eating typically results in eating too much, too fast and as a result, we cannot register the same amount of pleasure from the food we’re eating. Try slowing down with mindful eating and see if you experience more pleasure from savouring your food.
Physical Activity & Exercise
The reality is, if you force yourself to do a type of exercise you hate, you won’t stick with it. You also won’t have the added benefit of feeling good during or after your workout is done! Get rid of any exercise regime you dread and swap it for something you actually look forward to. This could be a dance class, yoga, Pilates, or even boxing! And who’s to say exercise needs to be in a gym? You can just as well take care of your body by any type of movement you enjoy like walking, swimming, playing sports, or even stretching at home.
There are so many great ways to take care of yourself and enjoy it! Whether its setting a bedtime, sleeping in, or trying a challenging new exercise class, experiment until you find what works for you. If it feels forced – don’t do it. Remember that self-care looks different for everyone. While one person may love running, another person may dread it. One person may enjoy a relaxing bath while another may prefer a dance class. Discover what you truly enjoy and receive pleasure from – forgetting any kind of pressures or expectations.
Whether it’s the food you eat, the activities you participate in, or other self-care, experiencing pleasure is important for all of us. And when you experience pleasure in life through self-care, you won’t feel the need to satisfy your “cravings” with food.
If you struggle with emotional eating, here’s a question for you - are you a bit (or a lot) of a perfectionist? Perhaps you desire to have the perfect body, the perfect life, or be the best at everything you do. While being a high-achiever is impressive and has its benefits, there’s a self-destructive aspect to being a perfectionist. When it comes to your relationship with food, being a perfectionist isn’t all its cracked up to be.
Why We Need to Ditch Perfectionism
Perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by an individual striving for flawlessness (perfection) in everything they do. But along with high performance outcomes, perfectionism often includes self criticism, high-pressure and unnecessary self-induced stress. With a perfectionist mindset, its easy to see how one’s relationship with body and food can be affected.
For example, wanting the ‘perfect body’ could be your goal. Instead of making small changes over time that lead to a healthier lifestyle, you decide on Monday that you’re starting an extremely restricted diet – no sugar, no junk food, no treats. In fact, you’re going to eat smaller portions too. The problem with this is the body doesn’t like these extreme measures because its trying to maintain balance. When you restrict your diet so drastically, your body doesn’t get enough energy to function and survive. In an attempt to get the energy and nutrients it needs, you develop cravings to fix this imbalance. This results in craving junk food, binge eating and not being able to stop even when you feel full.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever attempted to cut so much out of your diet, but it only lasted a few days? Have you skipped meals during the day but then found yourself overeating at night? This is one of the challenges that a perfectionist may face when dieting – because they are being too extreme with an ‘all or nothing’ mentality. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a perfectionist, you may have experienced this cycle of restrictive eating, then overeating, then repeat.
With perfectionism, even though we’re striving for a better body, we’re actually damaging our relationship with food as well as our health, weight, and metabolism.
So, what should we strive for instead of the ‘Perfect Diet’ or the ‘Perfect Body’?
Stop dieting. No, really! Instead of having a black and white list of foods to have or avoid, follow an 80:20 ratio of eating nutritious, whole foods most of the time and enjoying not-so-healthy foods in certain social settings when healthy options aren't available. You can lose weight and improve your health without extreme dieting measures. It's not about perfection, it's about balance. Each day and situation you're in will demand different things from you. Learn to go with the flow and make the healthiest choices available, but don't beat yourself up for enjoying your favourite yummy foods now and then. For more information on following a balanced and healthy diet, read my blog on Eating for Nourishment.
If we are no longer striving for perfection, it doesn’t mean we need to let go of all our ambitions, drive and desires. It simply means that we accept our humanness – flaws and all. We need to accept reality and learn to persevere through the minor mistakes or setbacks. We won’t always eat perfectly – and that’s okay. Bodies come in different shapes and sizes – and that’s okay. We all have different skills, talents, traits, and features – and that’s good! Our uniqueness is what makes us beautiful inside and out. Learn to accept that.
When we strive for perfection, what we are really looking for is love and acceptance. Loving yourself is what makes you happy – not having the perfect body or following the perfect diet. If this is something you struggle with, begin by creating a nurturing self-care routine which is one of the foundations for healing emotional eating. To learn more about incorporating self-care, check out my blog on Building a Self-Care Routine
And remember that you’re allowed to ask for help! Perfectionists often have a very loud inner-critic. Changing your inner dialogue will take time and working with a therapist can help if you don’t know where to start. This is the ultimate gift you can give yourself – to work towards truly loving and accepting yourself just as you are. Flaws and all. =)
Emotional eating is an unhealthy (and ineffective) coping mechanism for dealing with negative emotions. To heal emotional eating, we need to learn healthy and effective tools to help us cope. One useful tool is positive self-talk – positive affirmations to shift your mindset. These positive affirmations can manage negative emotions, boost self-confidence and improve body image, which can heal your relationship with your body and with food.
Most people don’t realize it, but we constantly have an inner dialogue as we go about our daily lives. Our inner voice or ‘self-talk’ includes our conscious thoughts as well as our unconscious beliefs. Some people are naturally more optimistic, while others tend to think more negatively. If you struggle with body image or self-esteem issues, then chances are your self-talk is often negative. Even if you aren’t aware of this now, with practice, you will learn to recognize negative self-talk when it happens.
Why Negative Self-Talk is Harmful
Think of a child or young person that you care about – whether its your own kid or someone you know (or even a young version of yourself). Imagine they are upset. How do you speak to them? Most likely you would speak to them in a loving and kind way. You would be gentle and understanding. You would never set conditions around your love for them or say overly critical things to them.
Now think of how you speak to yourself. Are your words gentle and encouraging? Are you critical of your body? Are you giving yourself the love you deserve – just like you give to others you care for? If you continue to let yourself have negative and self-destructive thoughts, you’re developing and holding onto toxic conscious and unconscious beliefs that keep you in a negative mindset.
If you can master positive self-talk, you will change your negative mindset which can help you achieve inner peace with your emotions, your body, and with food.
Challenge the Self-Talk
To challenge negative self-talk, we first need to recognize when it happens. Most likely, our negative thoughts are more prominent when we find ourselves feeling angry, stressed, anxious or depressed. Use these feelings to reflect on your thoughts.
Are these thoughts true? Is there another way to look at the situation? Is there anything good to focus on? Can I learn from this?
Asking these questions can help you recognize your negative self talk and give you the opportunity to replace it with positive self-talk! With practice, you may even recognize the exaggeration or inaccuracy of your negative self-talk.
Replace Negative Self-Talk with Positive Affirmations
Take a look at the chart below for some ideas on how you can change your inner dialogue:
Remember that building up your self-confidence and relationship with yourself takes time. Practice being aware of how you are thinking about yourself and your body. When you catch yourself with a negative thought, challenge it with a positive affirmation. Repeat these positive affirmations over and over again – until you start to believe them! Over time, you will start to see a shift from negative to more positive thinking. Having a more positive mindset will have huge benefits for your relationship with body and your relationship with food!
At one point or another, everyone goes through a tough time. Whether it’s financial woes, a messy break up, a tragic loss, or just the pressure of daily responsibilities, its hard to stay grounded and feel balanced. And when stress, anxiety and worry start to take over, life can become overwhelming and you may start to feel burned out. In these times, you may drift towards emotional eating for comfort. But there's a way to manage this!
Below are 4 simple yet effective self-care strategies to try when you're feeling overwhelmed. If you start to practice these strategies when you're feeling run down, they can help you get back to feeling refreshed and rejuvenated!
If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, there’s a good chance your sleep has suffered. This may sound obvious, but if you’re exhausted, get more sleep! It is so important for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Studies have shown that poor or inadequate sleep can cause irritability and stress, and can have a significant affect on mood. (I think we’ve all been there!)
If you struggle with emotional eating or are feeling particularly emotional over something, ask yourself how you’re feeling physically. Are you tired? Try taking a short nap or going to bed early and see how you feel after. Chances are, you’ll feel much more positive and rejuvenated after a good night’s sleep!
If you have difficulties falling asleep or getting enough sleep, ensure that you are following proper “sleep hygiene”. To learn more about sleep hygiene, click here.
2. Breathing Meditation
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the easiest thing to do is a breathing meditation. The purpose of this is to calm your mind and experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Often, stress and tension are actually racing thoughts in our minds. When we practice breathing meditation, instead of getting distracted by our thoughts, we focus on our breath. Through this practice, our minds relax and we will feel refreshed.
Meditation can also help you be more in touch with your inner self. And when you’re more in tune with your thoughts and your feelings, you can address your needs better! This makes self-care a lot easier – which is essential for feeling grounded and balanced.
3. Do Something Fun
Sometimes we need to get out of our heads and just enjoy ourselves. Not only does constant worry and stress trigger emotional eating, but its just exhausting! Stress is just something we need to accept is a part of our lives, but we can manage that stress a lot better when we ensure that there is some pleasure in our lives too. While emotional eaters may turn to food for their pleasure, there are healthier ways to incorporate pleasure into your life. Schedule in fun activities weekly, or daily, if you can. Whatever brings you joy and rejuvenates you – make time for it. If you do this routinely, it will help you feel more balanced and as a result, better able to handle the stress of your daily life.
If you can’t think of many things that bring you pleasure in your life, start to explore some new hobbies and activities to try. It could be a new craft like painting, photography, or writing. It could be as simple as playing with your kids or pet. Whatever it is, make sure it puts a smile on your face and brings you joy.
We live in a society nowadays where our cellphones, iPads, and laptops are on us at all times. While technology can be great for keeping us connected, the constant emails, texts, calls, videos and social media can be over-stimulating - especially if you’re feeling burned out. “Unplugging” so to speak, simply means taking a break from the screen-time and re-focusing on you.
Consider spending time in the evenings or on the weekend where you disconnect. Turn off your phone and be screen-free for a couple hours. Go for a walk, take a nap, stretch, do whatever you want. It could be time you spend alone or time you spend with loved ones – whatever makes you feel refreshed!
Remember that while technology can keep you connected to others, building strong and meaningful relationships happen in real-life – not in front of a screen! So, take time for yourself and also prioritize spending time with others – to deepen your relationships which ultimately makes you feel connected, comforted, and fulfilled in your life.
Self-Care is Key to Manage Emotional Eating
If you’re looking for a healthier relationship with yourself, with food, your body and weight, you need to start with feeling your best – and you can’t feel your best if you’re constantly overwhelmed and feeling run down. Start to check in with yourself and recognize if you’re feeling out of balance and stressed. And if you can routinely do this and practice self-care when you need it, you can manage emotional eating and work towards a healthier, well-balanced you!
What’s eating you?
Emotional eaters tend to overeat to avoid being fully present with themselves and their unwanted feelings. If you struggle with emotional eating, you may be using food as an escape; an attempt to numb out certain feelings caused by unresolved conflict. Rather than “eating your feelings”, there are healthier and more effective approaches to address negative emotions. One way to do this is through forgiveness.
Studies have found that forgiveness can be very beneficial to your health from lowering the risk of heart attack to reducing levels of pain, anxiety and stress. When you don’t forgive, feelings of anger, resentment, rage, disappointment, blame or sadness linger inside you. Over time, these negative feelings cause chronic stress in the body and may drive you to emotionally eat. By making the conscious decision to forgive, you are letting go of these negative feelings. And when you release those negative feelings, you won’t feel the same strong urge to escape through food.
Learning to Forgive
Are you holding a grudge? Can you think of anyone you feel resentful towards? It could be a parent, partner, close friend, or even an entire group of people. The first step to forgiveness is to reflect and remember – what happened, how did it make you feel, how has it affected you since? You may have pushed past hurts down so far that it will take time for you to realize you are holding onto negative feelings.
Don’t rush this step – it can be a long process. Be patient and take the time to process any negative feelings that come up. If you’ve been deeply hurt by someone such as experiencing abuse, consider seeing a professional therapist who can guide you through this process. Only after taking the time to truly process your feelings, can you make the decision to forgive.
Try Forgiving with a Ritual
A ritual is easy to stick to and can help you come to terms with someone or something that has hurt you. Create your own ritual to help you move from anger (or sadness) to forgiveness. You may want to try writing a letter to the person expressing your hurt and anger. After you’re done, throw it out, rip it up, or burn it. Then, write another letter to the person expressing your forgiveness and the reasons why you’ve made this decision.
Whether it’s a misunderstanding with a co-worker or a long-held resentment towards a family member, unresolved conflict can affect you much deeper than you may realize. Following a ritual in practicing forgiveness can make forgiveness a more natural trait over time. Can you think of a ritual that will work for you?
Remember to Forgive Yourself!
While it is important to forgive others, it’s just as important to forgive yourself. Oftentimes, we’re hardest on and most critical of ourselves. Most of us find it challenging to love ourselves unconditionally; set an intention to forgive yourself for any mistakes you have made or imperfections you think you have. You’re human and you’re allowed to make mistakes – we all do!
If you’re feeling resistant to the idea of forgiveness, consider the act of forgiveness as self-care. While holding a grudge and harboring negative emotions may seem easier, it may be the root cause of your emotional eating. Holding onto those negative feelings is actually harming you. So consider releasing those negative feelings by practicing forgiveness!
Forgiveness will release negative emotions and comfort you in a way that food never will.
The most important thing to understand about emotional eating is that it isn’t just a problem or unwanted behaviour. It’s actually a symptom that has a deeper meaning. Emotional eating is a doorway to understanding ourselves and to identify deeper areas that require more love and attention. Your emotional eating may actually be asking you to live a more authentic life. Living with authenticity can actually heal your emotional eating by attaining satisfaction at a deeper level – deeper than what food can provide.
What is Authenticity?
Authenticity can be defined as being true to one’s own self in personality and character. What this means is that our actions and words are consistent with our beliefs and values. Being authentic means being ourselves, instead of what we think we should be or have been told we should be. Living an authentic life create inner peace which can resolve our need to turn to food for pleasure or comfort.
Living an Authentic Life
People often say “be yourself” but where do you start? Below are 3 areas to look at for Authentic Living:
1. Your Beliefs
Take the time to reflect on what is important to you. What are your core rules or guidelines about how you see life, the world and how you believe is best to conduct yourself? Living with authenticity means living in alignment with your core values. What character traits do you value? Are you practicing these? Perhaps you need to make adjustments in your life so that you’re living consistent with your values and beliefs.
2. Your Desires
Are you open and honest with yourself about your true desires in life? Oftentimes, we suppress or bury our dreams and longings – maybe because we don’t believe that they can ever be fulfilled. Whether these desires revolve around love and intimacy, family, education, career, travel or self discovery, if we aren’t honest with ourselves about what we truly desire, we won’t be happy or feel fulfilled. This lack of fulfillment may drive us to turn to food for temporary satisfaction.
While you may not get all you desire, its important not to suppress or deny these desires. At least acknowledging them and feeling them creates more authenticity in our lives. Some of your desires may be unattainable, but often there are many ways for us to work towards achieving our goals and dreams!
Do you often withhold your true feelings from others? Whether its to avoid conflict, rejection or being too vulnerable, emotional eaters tend to keep their feelings bottled up inside. But part of living an authentic life means being honest with yourself and others. If you struggle with expressing yourself, begin with becoming more self-aware. Accept yourself for who you are – both strengths and weaknesses. Let go of perfectionism and strive to become more genuine in your actions and words.
Other ways to be Authentic:
· Not withholding love or compassion
· Expressing your creativity
· Practicing forgiveness
· Having personal integrity
· Following your passions
· Being mindful and living in the present moment
Living an authentic life means learning to honour and trust all that is within us. Whether you need to work on living according to your beliefs, trusting your desires, or opening up to others, living an authentic life can be a powerful way to heal emotional eating.
Want to get off the diet roller coaster, stop eating emotionally, and lose weight? Get my Emotional Eating Toolkit.
Self-care is one of the foundations for managing emotional eating. One aspect of self-care is the physical aspect – taking care of your body. While everyone knows that physical activity is good for the body, exercise may not always be “healthy” for you. Some people become obsessed with exercise, purely focused on how many calories they’re burning and using exercise as a punishment for their eating habits. When physical activity is a chore that you force yourself to do, or worse, done as a punishment, it creates unnecessary stress and negativity – even if you don’t realize it!
Do you have a nourishing or punishing relationship with physical activity?
If exercise can be used as self-punishment, then what is nourishing activity? Movement! Think of how children move and participate in activities – to them, its fun and play! They don’t worry about how many calories they’re burning, or if it cancels out the food they ate earlier. They are just celebrating being alive and having fun! As adults, and especially for emotional eaters, the goal is to move away from punishing activity and participate in movement that is enjoyable to you and ultimately, nourishing to your soul. For emotional eaters, this shift will help to manage emotional eating by creating a nourishing relationship with self.
Exercise versus Movement
Look at this list below. How do you currently view physical activity?
While exercise is geared towards "results" and feels like work, movement is a celebration of your body, health and vitality.
Participating in activities that you enjoy adds pleasure to your life helping to reduce stress and negativity. For an emotional eater, this is essential to self-care and achieving a healthier relationship with your body and with food.
How to Incorporate More Movement into Your Life
Choose from any physical activity you enjoy doing where the focus is on having fun. Remember that traditional exercise isn’t bad in itself, but rather the negative mindset and approach towards it. If you love a certain sport, like going to the gym or really enjoy an exercise class, then keep doing it! If you think its fun, definitely incorporate it into your life.
Here are some activities you can try:
Playing in the park
Jumping on a trampoline
Going for a bike ride
Welcome more movement into your life - be in the moment, enjoy the activity and appreciate how your body works and moves. Move in a way that expresses yourself and give your body the movement it craves. This act of self-love will add more pleasure to your life and nourish your soul.
Stress. A word we are all familiar with. Stress may be described as a general sense of feeling overwhelmed but when it comes to its relation to emotional eating, stress may be better described as experiencing chronic distressing or negative emotions. Whether related to work, family, relationships, or health, your stress stems from intense emotions that most likely are being suppressed, ignored, or poorly handled.
As an emotional overeater, feeling stressed can be a major trigger for compulsive overeating and binge eating. This is a temporary fix to make you feel better because food is being used as a distraction, and once you start focusing on food, you stop focusing on your feelings. However, when you rely on this quick fix method, your stress isn’t being released. Rather, it’s being bottled up and suppressed which means, it’s not going anywhere! Your stress then manifests itself in your body and is at the root of your emotional eating.
While many of us have learned to deal with emotions, and subsequently stress, in this way, there’s another way – a healthier way! Emotional eaters, in particular, need to learn to release stress instead of bottling it up inside.
Below are 4 techniques that you can use to start releasing stress from your body.
If you are looking to address your emotional eating, I encourage you to try these out. They may feel strange at first, but try each of them a few times and see which techniques work for you.
1. Yell into a pillow
Yes, yell into a pillow – and as loudly as you can! You may want to hold back because you think someone might hear you, but don’t. Pillows absorb a lot more noise than you might think. Alternatively, you can get a foam bat and hit a pillow. Put your full body into it, and don’t be afraid to make noise!
If you uncertain or uncomfortable with trying these, it may be easier to learn how to do this with a stress management counsellor who can help guide you through this process.
2. Write a letter
If a specific person is causing you stress, write a letter addressed to that person. Don’t worry, you’re not actually going to give it to them! But write it as if you were going to send it to them and make sure to express all your feelings in the letter. After you’re done, read it out loud and see how you feel. This should release some of your feelings and reduce the intensity of your emotions.
3. Talk to somebody
Pick up the phone and call somebody you trust. If you call somebody who is judgmental, you are just going to feel worse, so choose who you call carefully. Talking to someone about how you are feeling will help to release and lessen the intensity of your feelings.
Having someone listen to you also validates your feelings and makes you feel accepted, understood and loved. So having someone listen has a mood-boosting effect which will lessen the intensity of your stress and negative emotions.
It’s as simple as that! Studies have found that breathing practices can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and attention deficit disorder. To learn more about the benefits of controlled breathing, check out this article from The New York Times: Click here
Ready to put this into practice?
Sign up for my Free Emotional Eating Toolkit for a breathing exercise specifically designed for emotional eaters!
If you struggle with emotional eating, chances are something in your life is out of balance – whether you realize it or not. This is because emotional eating is often triggered by stress and attempts to use food to make yourself feel better. There are many difference areas of our lives that could be out of balance. You might be lacking purpose or meaning in your life, stuck in a job you hate, or maybe you don’t have the love and intimacy you desire to have in your life. When we are dissatisfied with a certain area in our lives, we often turn to food as the best available substitute to bring us pleasure or comfort. Can you think of a time when a challenging area of your life affected your eating behaviour?
While there is nothing wrong with receiving pleasure from food, when you constantly rely on food to receive temporary pleasure and fill a void, the line between physical and emotional hunger blurs and can lead to bingeing and overeating. Not only can this cause unwanted weight gain, but it also leaves us with feelings of guilt and shame and nowhere closer to satisfaction and overall contentment in our lives.
Yes, using food as a substitute for what you truly desire is challenging and a nuisance, but wait...it’s also a gift! That’s because your emotional eating has a hidden meaning. Your eating challenges are alerting you that something in your life is out of balance. Its trying to grab your attention and show you that your needs aren’t being met! You are trying to use food to overcompensate for that imbalance. But your emotional eating’s purpose is to show you what areas require more attention. Ultimately, it is asking you to dig deeper and grow as a person.
To discover the true message behind your emotional eating, take a look at all the different areas of your life and try to figure out which ones are not in balance. (Remember that no area is or will ever be completely perfect, but you should feel satisfied with each area of your life).
Look at the list below and rank each area on a scale of 1-10:
Hobbies & Interests
The areas that you ranked the lowest indicate dissatisfaction. So, now you’ve identified which areas need some extra attention. Look at the area(s) you’ve identified and ask yourself these questions:
What can I do to create more satisfaction and happiness in this area of my life?
How can I feel less burdened by this?
Can I get support from others?
Remember that this doesn’t necessarily mean that you solve all your problems and get rid of them for good. But you should be able to explore some possibilities to make some improvements! Perhaps it means re-evaluating certain friendships or relationships which are causing unnecessary stress in your life. Maybe you need to create a Self-Care Routine (check out my blog on that here) or maybe you need to re-direct your career. Whatever it may be, consider how you can create more joy and satisfaction in your life and go for it!
When you listen to what your heart is truly craving, you have discovered the hidden meaning behind your emotional eating and only then can you resolve it for good.
Want to get off the diet roller coaster, stop eating emotionally, and lose weight? Get my Emotional Eating Toolkit.
Do you eat your feelings? For emotional eaters, you’re more likely to gain weight when you don’t communicate your feelings. So, the way to improve emotional eating and manage a healthy body weight is through open communication and expression of your true feelings!
Let's dig a little deeper and discover 4 reasons why you should consider communicating your feelings, especially if you’re looking to manage emotional eating.
1. It gives you a voice
When you express your feelings to another individual, even if that person doesn’t agree with you, or understand your point of view, you’ve still given yourself a voice.
When you share your feelings, start with the phrase “I feel…” which is an empowering statement because the focus is on you. Sharing how you feel to another person can perhaps open the door to finding a resolution but if not (we can’t control how others receive the information), you have still validated your own feelings and empowered yourself by giving yourself a voice.
2. It increases self-esteem
If you struggle with emotional eating you may also have low self-esteem. As a result, you may not speak up for yourself or you may feel like people don’t listen to or hear you.
Learning to speak up and communicate your feelings to others is crucial to improving self-esteem. Remember that you’re just as important as others and your feelings are valid. You have the right to express your feelings and opinions. When you communicate your feelings to others, you’re creating genuine, meaningful relationships with yourself and others.
3. It allows your body, mind and soul to be more connected
To live an authentic life, you need to be honest with yourself about your feelings, beliefs and desires.
If you don’t feel comfortable communicating these things to others, try paying more attention to and sitting with your feelings. Some exercises like journaling or meditation can help you process your feelings. By paying attention to your deeper feelings, you are creating a stronger connection with yourself.
4. It creates a stronger connection with those closest to you
The findings of a 75-year Harvard study on what individuals should prioritize for a happy life were recently published (Read it here). The study showed that the key to happiness is...good relationships!
The article clarifies that "it's the quality of your close relationships that matters…how much vulnerability and depth exists within them; how safe you feel sharing with one another; the extent to which you can relax and be seen for who you truly are, and truly see another.”
The way to build a stronger connection is by opening up and communicating your feelings. And when you build stronger relationships with those closest to you, you will ultimately be healthier and happier!
Hopefully you see that through communicating your feelings, you are being true to yourself and opening yourself up to others in order to build close, meaningful and fulfilling relationships.
And when you do this, your emotional needs are being met which means you won't need to turn to food for comfort. :)
For more information, check out my Free Emotional Eating Toolkit!