Many people find themselves unconsciously eating to fulfill their emotional needs; this is called Emotional Eating. Why is it that people are eating instead of dealing with their emotions?
People engage in emotional eating is because they are disconnected from their bodies and from their feelings. If you find that you are frequently thinking, planning, analyzing, moving, talking, working, and so on, then chances are you are not connected enough to your body, nor to your feelings & emotions. If you are not connected to your body, then you will find it more challenging to listen to your body’s natural signals that guide your brain to take appropriate action towards self-care.
I feel that with all the advancement of medicine and technology, the single most powerful tool that we possess, intuition, or internal wisdom, has been forgotten. Here are ten ways that you can reconnect to the subtle intuition of your body, and quit emotional eating once and for all! Even if you can only integrate one of these new habits per week, over time you will see tremendous benefits to your health, as you will find yourself eating for nutrition and hunger and not to sooth your emotions any longer.
1. Breathe while you eat.
I cannot stress this enough. Breathing deeply will help you in so many ways, and this is one really big one! So definitely start here.
2. Ask your gut, not your head.
Did you know that the Enteric Nervous System is located in the lining of the gut and has connection with your brain? It’s as if you have a second brain in your stomach, actually. Settle your awareness there and ask questions such as, “What would my body like to eat right now?” or “Am I eating from an emotional place or a place of hunger?” This self-enquiry is another great tool to use.
3. Slow Down.
Only when the momentum of your life slows down will you feel the natural signals from your body to eat at the right times; and this slowness of pace is just what you will need in order to keep your body weight in balance with your frame.
4. Food is fuel, not love.
This is not to say that food cannot be fun, too; it is wonderful and an extremely functional way to express self-love. Because of this, I believe our culture has gone a little too far, and seems to think that food is equivalent to love, but this is not so. We have enmeshed food and love, and therefore disconnected from our bodies true needs. Essentially, this practice is often so engrained in a persons’s behavior that it can lead to eating emotionally. If we reconnect to the essence of the nutritional value and physical satisfaction that food provides us, we can eliminate this misuse.
5. Learn how to communicate your feelings.
When you connect with your feelings and learn how to communicate them effectively verbally, often times emotional eating and other dysfunctional behavior falls by the wayside. Much of what causes emotional eating is stored feelings; so if we can clearly and kindly communicate them and resolve whatever issues might be lurking, often this can cause emotional eating to subside.
6. Spend more time in nature.
Taking a few conscious moments outside is a great way to start the process of connecting with your body and your emotions, too. If getting outside for a few moments each day is impossible, then surround yourself with lots of plants and natural elements such as, wood, rock, and fireplaces indoors. Bringing these elements inside with you will not just boost your spirits, but will also provide benefits such as cleaner air.
7. Get adequate rest.
When you are tired or pushing through the day, it is harder to be connected to your body. Be sure to get at least 6-8 hours of rest consistently, and you will find yourself eating less as well as just feeling more whole, full and wonderful in your body.
8. Balance your blood sugar.
When your blood sugar is balanced with adequate amounts of fat, fiber, and protein, it feels more grounded and stable, which makes it easier to hear your body’s natural hunger signals. This is an important reason to monitor carbohydrate intake and limit the amount of ‘simple carbs’ that you eat.
9. Reduce stimulants such as sugar, alcohol, and nicotine, and caffeine to return your body to its’ natural state.
All of those habit forming items that are more acidic in the body can also lead you to eat when you’re not hungry, as they provide empty calories and simple carbs (there they are again!) that you just do not need. There are other great benefits to avoiding these things, as I imagine you know, but the benefit of eating less when you’re not actually hungry is one that people often miss.
10. Move your body with enjoyable exercise.
Exercising from a place of enjoying the movement, as opposed to doing it ‘by- force’, will help you get connected to your body in a more loving way. When we exercise just because we think we should, we do not receive the full nourishment available. The energy which unconsciously gets attached to the behavior often leads to injuries, believe it or not! Another great reason to be sure to enjoy your fitness routine.
I hope that you can see the many ways and benefits to focusing your eating habits around actual physical need, versus unconsciously trying to satisfy your emotions. Thanks for reading! As always, I hope that this is helpful in some way.