Do you find yourself eating when you don’t feel hungry? Do you find yourself eating when you become emotionally charged, stressed, worried, bored, tired, lonely, scared, guilty, or blank? Do you find that food has control over you instead of the other way around? If you answered yes to any of these, you are eating for emotional reasons. Emotional eating is the single most reason why people put on weight or stay plateaued.
A little known secret is that you have control over your emotions. You have control over your thoughts…and you have POWER over food. You can have energy and feel great without overeating. How is this accomplished, you say?
1. First you must acknowledge your feelings and stay in the moment whenever it comes up. Allow the emotions to come up fully…do not even try to suppress them or allow yourself “numb out” with food (or cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, insert bad habit here). Next, release the emotion and tell yourself, “I feel (bored, happy, sad, etc.), but I’m okay. I’m solid at my core.” If you have to cry or scream or vent, go ahead. Do what you need to do to release the emotion. Emotions only hurt when you hold them in.
2. Find something else that you like to do. Do a mental re-frame. When you find yourself searching the pantry or the fridge and you know you are not really hungry, take CONTROL of your thoughts. Check yourself and ask why you are searching the cupboards. If you are truly not hungry, switch your brain over to an activity that you enjoy doing. Maybe it’s riding a bicycle, talking on the phone to someone you love, painting, singing, dancing, playing games, whatever. Whatever it is for you that’s fun. Say to yourself, “I need to take a walk (paint, dance, read, call a friend, etc.) now. I’ll eat after my walk if I still feel hungry.”
3. Listen to your natural signals in your body. Meditate daily. Breathe. This releases a great deal of stress and gets you in touch with your inner self. It relaxes you and increases your natural energy. I offer a relaxation recording you can download for free from my website by clicking on this link total relaxation, or you may use any meditation that you enjoy. Just check in with your mind, body, and soul throughout the day.
4. Eat consciously. Eat slowly and put the fork down when you begin to feel full. Set an alarm for 20 minutes. If you are still hungry 20 minutes later, allow yourself to eat more. Remember to stay in the moment when you eat. Taste all the flavors before swallowing. Forgive yourself if you slip up and eat mindlessly. Simply start over with your next meal. You will get it with just a little practice.
5. Think of yourself as a thin person. Do whatever activities you tell yourself you would do “when I lose the weight.” Do it now. Really picture it in your mind. See yourself thin and doing activities you enjoy that don’t include food. Then DO them. Everyday.
6. Eat, drink, sleep. Eat only when you are truly hungry. Drink lots of water. Stay hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration causes hunger pains. Get 7-10 hours of sleep a day. Go to sleep and wake up around the same time everyday. This greatly reduces stress, increases energy, and aids in fat burning. Your “hungry” and “full” signals need at least 7 hours to reset. Otherwise, you feel hungry sooner and it takes much longer to feel full. These sensations are caused by hormones called ghrelin (hungry) and leptin (full and long-term energy regulator).
7. Take a multivitamin and have your hormones checked. That will help your energy a great deal. Hormones have a great affect on fat and where it’s stored in the body. So it’s important to ensure yours are regulated.
8. Stop obsessing! Release yourself. Eat healthy when you can, but don’t beat yourself up over it. You can enjoy foods like rich ice cream if you eat just enough until you feel satisfied. Do make sure you are eating the right kinds of foods that keep you healthy. That will naturally give you more energy. But eat ONLY foods you enjoy. And don’t worry about portion sizes or calorie counting. That gives food too much power. Listen to your body. It will signal you when to stop. (Again, when you find yourself eating out of emotion. Stop. Do something else that would make you feel good–really nurture yourself with things you love to do–and go easy on yourself.)
Remember…naturally thin people never feel guilty about eating–and you are a naturally thin person at your core!
If you need help sorting out why you are eating for emotional reasons, a good hypnotist can guide you to the answers deep inside you. The more you can work on yourself, the faster you will RELEASE the weight. You can start letting go of it right now! (I’ll bet after just reading this, you will lose at least one pound within the next day or two.)
On a personal note: I take my own advise and listen to my emotional pain connected to false hunger. I know that, for me, I eat when I am sad. When I found out there may have been a serious life-threatening medical problem with one of my children that I had no control over, the first thing I did when I got home was to go into a bit of a depression and laid on the couch to mope and feel sorry for my child and myself. I cried it all out in the car ride home, so that part was taken care of…but I was still in a mental funk as I thought of all the implications of the sad news.
Eventually, I had to get up to go to the bathroom. On the way to the bathroom, I automatically stopped by the pantry which I had to pass anyway. I peered at all that food waiting there just to cheer me up. After working with so many weight loss clients, I was aware of what I was doing. I even said to myself, “I want to eat just to feel better right now. I know I’m not really hungry.” So what do you think I did?
Nope. I ate some cookies. And, guess what? I did have temporary relief. However–and this is the difference–as I was eating, I became MINDFUL of what I was doing and inwardly said, “Self, it’s okay to want to feel better. Go ahead and eat those cookies without feeling guilt. But do NOT lay back on the couch. Once you feel a little better, figure out a way to feel much better with that energy.” So I followed my own instructions.
I asked myself to come up with some better solutions to feel much better. My mind gave me a list right away. “You can pray and ask others to pray for you. That always gives you great relief! You can call a friend on the phone and talk it out. You can research this more and see what others families have done to get through this struggle. You can walk around the block to get some fresh air and sunshine, you can play with your children, you can take a bubble bath, you can increase your vitamin intake, you can…etc.”
I followed some of that advise and felt immediate relief. Talking with others, praying, and asking others to pray with me gave me a renewed since of hope. Playing with my children kept my mind in a joyful state and walking around the block cleared my head of some confusing thoughts I had been having. My depression and hunger signals left and I felt at peace. And, by the way, the problem with my child corrected itself a few weeks later. (Miraculously?)
What if I had sabotaged my own health for nothing? Even if the problem persisted, I could not have been on top of my game if I had stayed in a funk and packed on weight. But, because I just took a moment to check in with my authentic self, I found a solution and could be proud of myself for being strong (and present) for my children during those difficult weeks.
And you can do and feel the same! I will help you.