Are you an emotional eater?
I’m going to share with you some questions that will help you start to understand why you associate food with comfort and emotions. To start with, ask yourself when is it that you overeat? Is it late at night? When you’re alone? Is it when you’re bored, stressed or tired? Or is it to ‘treat’ yourself?
Think of a recent time when you ate more than you wanted to.
What was happening just before? What thoughts were you having? Was it some version of ‘I don’t care’, ‘I hate my life’, ‘Nobody cares’, ‘I’ll be fat anyway’, ‘Might as well eat it now because it’s there and I’ll eat at some point’. Or were you thinking: ‘I deserve it’ or, ‘it will make me feel better’? Even though you know it won’t in the long run?
Having answered these questions, is it possible that your eating might be in response to some emotion?
What you need to know about losing weight steadily
There are a lot of reasons why losing weight is hard. Food is widely and cheaply available. From the checkout counter at a clothing shop to the petrol station, we would have to actively go out of our way to not be tempted while we’re going about our business. We are mostly physiologically designed to store weight and to find it very difficult to lose weight. It’s only in the last few decades that we haven’t needed to avoid starvation by eating whenever possible.
Food, junk food, in particular, has become so attractive, both in appearance, smell and taste. The psychology behind manufacturers making money has become so manipulative. And we are only human!
Do you swallow your feelings?
We have been taught to pretend that we feel ok when we don't and as a result, we have no idea how to manage how we feel. So instead, we eat, we drink, we smoke, we take drugs, watch tv or even fall in love just to suppress how we feel. And it works, for a little while, acting as an anaesthetic, soothing the 'feeling and emotion' by numbing us out, making us feel better in the short term. Then the shame, guilt and regret come back in and we are in that perpetual cycle again.
Most of us overeat at some point. But many of us are also suffering and feeling terrible about the way we look. We are thinking, ‘if only I had enough willpower to stop!’ We inevitably feel like a failure for not stopping. But you shouldn’t feel like a failure. It’s natural to turn to a substance if you don’t know any other way. Do you know anyone who doesn’t do this?
Dieting doesn’t work, simply because it doesn’t get to the root of the problem. It’s just another plaster that may work for a while, but will ultimately fail if you don’t have a handle on how you feel.
The steps to reducing comfort eating, and weight loss
Self-confidence is the key to this change. Its self-confidence that helps you to naturally decide not to carry on harming yourself, and to treat yourself with more kindness, self-compassion and self-respect. Fortunately, self-confidence is something you can learn!
Knowing that it is your feelings and emotions that are prompting you to eat (as well as a deeply ingrained habit, by now), learn how to express your feelings and emotions in a satisfying and safe way. Identify and learn to challenge the self-critic in you. These thoughts make you want to eat more, so they need to be identified, dealt with compassion, and replaced with something more helpful and safely rewarding.
Discover different perspectives that resonate with you, and new ways of thinking, that help you feel calmer and happier. Learn to identify who you can trust and to receive support from other people. All of this helps you to decide not to carry on harming yourself, and to treat yourself with more kindness and self-respect. The choice to eat well comes naturally, instead of being enforced through restriction. This all takes time, dedication, courage and a willingness to change. It is 100% possible for you.
To find out more about your eating habits, and whether you are an emotional eater, get in touch with us today through our contact form, and book in your free 30-minute online consultation. You can also email us directly for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and together you can learn more about why you have this relationship with food, and what you can do to manage it.