Let’s PLEASE stop focusing exclusively on food & exercise and start addressing the real issues to emotional eating. HINT…your thoughts, your self-talk, your mindset!
You can do this. You do not need another food list or meal plan or to be more strict or to be more organised. You need to understand and implement strategies to stop emotional eating, self-sabotage and over-indulgence.
I used to be a serious emotional eater. And binge eater. And any-reason-at-all eater. I am not anymore. It’s not about willpower. It’s about strategy & practice.
How To Stop Emotional Eating?
First you really want to understand the behavior. If I were to ask you why you do it, “I don’t know” isn’t an option. “I don’t know” just means, “I haven’t paid enough attention yet to understand it well enough”. Start to pay attention. I want you to be able to answer the following questions:
- What am I doing? (Related to emotional eating, overeating, binge eating, etc.)
- Why do I do it?
- Where & when does it happen most often?
- What does it do for me?
- Is it working?
- Is it true?
- Is it worth it?
Really invest in answering those questions. If you feel like you’re stuck, keep asking the question “why?” and you’ll be surprised by what you uncover.
Then, there are some practical strategies you can implement (one at a time) to help you stop emotional eating:
- Pre-define your daily or weekly indulgences. This will force you to pause, consider your options and select things that are truly worth it. The number of indulgences depends on your baseline for e.g. if you are currently indulging 3-4 times per day, redefine to 1-2. If you are currently indulging 5-7 times per week, redefine to 2-4. Can you see the pattern?
- Mandatory questions. You don’t have to answer them all but, pick the ones that resonate with you and answer them on paper prior to emotionally eating or over-indulging.
- 3 series: How do I want to feel in 30 minutes? How will eating this make me feel? Given those answers, is this indulgence worth it?
- Is this choice reflective of the type of person I want to be? If it’s not, is it worth it?
- If I make this choice every day for the next year, where will I be then?
- Mandatory pause. You can have it be a micro pause or a long pause, but consider the following before you indulge or make any decision:
- Wait 30 seconds
- Journal for 60 seconds
- Take a walk
- Get in a workout
- Practice self-discipline in other areas not related to food. Build your self-confidence and influence your food choices without always focusing on food. Some examples of things you might work on include:
- Making your bed every day
- Not hitting snooze
- Walking more often
- Cleaning the kitchen every day
- Maintaining a budget
- Flossing your teeth
Often this whole thing will feel overwhelming, but please just start somewhere. You aren’t going to “cure all” overnight. You may even take 5 steps forward and 3 back but make the progress positive and forward.
Stay in the moment, pay attention to your thoughts.
I hope this has helped and please feel free to ask any questions.