Emotional Eating 101
It’s Betty here, getting right to the point with today’s tip:
Do you ever turn to food when you’re hungry, angry, bored, irritable, tired or stressed?
It’s a rare person who could answer “no” to that question.
In fact, when I surveyed folks who are part of my plexus slim newsletter, many of them said that struggling with emotional eating was one the main things that was holding them back from losing weight and feeling better about themselves.
And it’s what prompted me to write the post whether plexus slim helps cure cravings or not .
Turning to food for emotional comfort is common. Food CAN make us feel better – but ironically, it can also make us feel worse.
The problem comes when we use food to ignore and suppress our emotions instead of allowing them to move through us.
We may crunch through a bag of chips, frustrated and angry… but guess what? When the bag of chips is empty, the anger is still there – only now we have an added layer of guilt.
What is going on here?
Well, let me ask:
When it comes to your feelings, have you ever been told to…
- just get over it
- stop feeling sorry for yourself
- put it behind you
- stop blowing things out of proportion
That’s because in western society, we’re supposed to…
- keep a stiff upper lip
- don’t wear your heart on your sleeve
- take it like a man (!)
No wonder we turn to food as a distraction, a comfort, a friend, an answer to all our problems.
The problem is, food doesn’t (really) help – and in some cases, it only makes it worse!
Food is just food. It isn’t magic.
(There’s one of your mantras for this week.)
How wonderful it would be if food really could…
- magically take care of our overdue bills
- make someone understand us better
- smooth over an angry exchange
- repair regrets or past hurts
- bring back something or someone we’ve lost
- improve our conditions at work
- make someone nicer or more compassionate
- make our afternoons less lonely
- replace apathy with inspiration and enthusiasm
- fill our hearts with joy and contentment
But food can’t really do all of that just by itself.
We have been looking in the wrong place.
It would be one thing if that box of cookies, bars of candy or pile of french fries really DID cure our ills.
Maybe then the full tummy, indigestion, self-loathing, ruined moods, zapped energy and extra pounds would be worth it.
If eating a carton of ice cream really did make everything better, then why in the world would we have to keep turning to it again and again?
I think you can see where I’m going here.
The thing is, emotional eating DOESN’T help.
So why do we still continue emotional eating?
Go back to the first sentence of this message, and you’ll see exactly why.
Emotional eating is simply a result of our HABITS.
In other words, we eat when we’re:
(I’m sure you can add many more emotions to the list, but use this as a starting point.)
The trick to stopping stress eating in its tracks is to ask yourself (before reaching for that cookie):What am I feeling?
How am I feeling?
Why am I feeling this way?
What can I do to really make myself feel better?
Now here is the #1 most important thing you can tell yourself (and this is your second mantra for this week):
All emotions are valid.
That’s right – they are!
And YOU deserve to feel them, in all their intensity.
It’s only when you allow yourself to FEEL your feelings that they will rise up, be heard (felt) then subside, naturally, on their own time and in their own way, much like a wave in the ocean.
But when we suppress our feelings and try to submerge them as if holding a beach ball under water, as soon as we let go, they rush to the surface, with more force than ever.
Worst of all, we never get a chance to face the feeling and LEARN from it!
More and more, science is confirming what ancient cultures have known all along: all disease and illness has an emotional component.
Chronic headaches? IBS? Skin conditions? Even infertility? How many of these conditions – and countless others – have abated once the person eliminates the source of stress and “dis EASE” in their lives?
For many people, especially people trying to lose fat, the first step is to acknowledge and accept their true feelings.
A few examples:
Did someone let you down?
It’s okay to feel hurt, betrayed, sad, left out – and any other feeling that comes along with it.
In fact, if you didn’t feel anything, I’d be worried about you!
Did you get treated unfairly at work?
Then you have a right to feel frustrated, angry, put out, etc.
All alone on a Sunday afternoon with nothing planned?
Well, why wouldn’t you feel bored or lonely?
The point is: we are not automatons, we are human beings, with a heart that can hurt, with a heart that can heal.
But that healing does not come from food.
It comes from within.
- The next time you are tempted to eat (or overeat) when you are not physically hungry, run through the HABITS checklist and see if you are being compelled to eat by some reason other than hunger.
- BREATHE – and think about what it is you are feeling and why.
- Repeat this mantra: “All emotions are valid.” Let yourself really FEEL whatever is going on in the moment. Talk about it, write about it, FEEL it!
- Repeat this mantra: “Food is just food. It’s not magic.” Think about what else you could do instead of eating that would actually make you feel better.
- PAMPER yourself . This is when you need to take care of YOU! Go for a massage, a pedicure, a facial, a swim, a jog, a romp in the park with your dog (or a neighbor’s dog). At work and can’t get away?
Phone a supportive friend, go back and re-read all my blog posts… or simply make yourself a cup of tea and find a private place to have a good cry!
There… don’t you feel better already?!
I hope so.
Please remember, this new way of looking at food takes time to get used to.
The more you breathe – relax – focus and ENJOY the (even subtle) progress you make with each step, each positive action, each new outlook and fresh perspective, the more freedom, ease and joy you will experience.
… and I am here for you, every step of the way!
Body Tip Of The Week:
Last week I wrote about the importance of getting to bed by 10:00PM.
You will be amazed at how this seemingly simple tip can have such a profound impact on your emotional well-being.
Yes, “all emotions are valid” but when we are over-tired, it is easier to get stuck in the feeling instead of letting it wash over and through you.
The other tip I recommended was to go for a swim a few times a week.
Water is so cleansing and healing and it works wonders to soothe a weary soul.
If you can’t get into a pool, at least submerge yourself in a warm bath a few times a week.
Hopping in the tub with a good book is one of my all-time favorite ways to pamper myself!
It’s calorie-free and costs nothing. A perfect indulgence!
In fact, this week’s recipe is for your soothing your soul with my healing bubble bath!
Slimming Recipe of the week *Peg’s Natural Bubble Bath*
1 cup Epsom salt (buy at the drugstore)
1 cup baking soda (not baking powder)
1 cup powdered milk (or use 1 cup regular milk)
few drops of essential oil of lavender (optional)
Pour everything into the tub as you’re filling it up with very warm water. Swirl it a bit to create natural bubbles.
Epsom salt contains magnesium, nature’s tranquilizer.
Baking soda is a natural deodorant.
Milk cleanses and hydrates the skin.
Lavender encourages an attitude of acceptance and well-being.
Drink a glass of water before you hop into the tub.
Sip on a cup of soothing herbal tea like chamomile (or your fav)
Soak for about 20 minutes… and relax deeply with a pleasant expression on your face.
(Putting on a slight smile automatically makes you feel better.)
Drink another glass of water after getting out of the tub.
Use a fresh, warm towel to dry off.
Put on a favorite robe or pajamas.
Congratulate yourself for being so smart about your emotional well-being.
Conjure up a feeling of cheerful curiosity about what life will bring next!
Okay, so that wraps up this week’s post! Look for Part 2 coming up next where I give you some advanced techniques for embracing your emotions – without guilt or weight gain, and without using products such as Plexus .
Until then, take care! You deserve it.
All my best!
(Remember, I’m standing by to receive your comments below!)