Oreo’s, Doritos, cookies…oh my!
Are you thinking that maybe you are an emotional eater?
Never considered it before…but maybe?!
If you feel out of control with food, have a stressful relationship with food, or eat in hiding, you definitely could be experiencing emotional eating.
And, it’s ok! You are not alone, my friend.
Awareness is key. And, then you can move forward by addressing this challenge and moving through it.
There is no judgment or shame. Approach this with curiosity and love. This little challenge is here to teach you something about yourself, and it will help you re-connect with God and yourself. Isn’t that awesome?
HERE ARE A FEW KEY POINTS TO HELP YOU ADDRESS EMOTIONAL EATING:
- AWARENESS FIRST.
Too often we operate on autopilot and before we know it, we have chronic aches and pains, too much weight, and no energy. All of this from the refined, processed food we’re putting in our body multiple times throughout the day. Most of us tend to do this because we operate on autopilot and pacify emotions with comfort food. Stress? Eat chips! Lonely? Eat ice cream! Bored? Eat cookies! Anxious? Eat candy. (See, when we eat to pacify emotions, we generally are not eating spinach and kale!) And, it’s these “comfort foods” that throw our health and weight off course.
To help you turn off autopilot and turn on conscious living, I invite you to do a Food and Mood journal for a week. Write down what you eat, why you’re eating, and how you’re feeling in the moment of eating. This will help you see if you are, indeed, an emotional eater. It will help you notice if you’re turning to food when you’re stressed, anxious, lonely, bored, sad, etc. Remember, no judgment!
2. FIND WAYS TO RELIEVE BOREDOM AND ADDRESS STRESS.
Much of the emotional eating I see comes from boredom and stress. Food is an easy go-to when we need something to do, right?! Before boredom or stress hit, fill your toolbox with HEALTHY ways to engage these emotions. For boredom OR stress, go for a walk, dance in the living room, paint a picture, read a book, move your body, clean the house, declutter the closet (yes, really!), serve others, phone a friend, pray, journal, deep breathe, listen to calming music, watch funny videos.
When you have some go-to activities ready, you’ll be more likely to reach for these health-supporting behaviors rather than engaging in health-hindering behaviors like diving into a bag of Doritos.
3. SET YOUR ENVIRONMENT UP FOR SUCCESS.
If you don’t have Oreo’s in the house, you can’t/won’t eat them! If you don’t have chocolate chip cookies (my weakness!!!) in the house, you can’t/won’t eat them. If you don’t have Lay’s potato chips in the house, you can’t/won’t eat them. See how that works?! Environment is a very important consideration if behavior change is your desire. And, this is especially true in the beginning when you are establishing new habits and behaviors.
4. GET SUPPORT.
You’re an emotional eater? That’s ok! You’re human, you’re lovable, you’re whole. Emotional eating is here to teach you something. Look at it as a teacher rather than a curse. Find someone to work through this with you. Having an accountability partner, someone to call on in a weaker moment, and someone to help you sort through your feelings will be very beneficial. Bring this challenge to light! There’s nothing to fear or hide.
5. GET TO THE ROOT.
Emotional “eating” is a symptom. It’s not the problem. The real issue is what is causing those emotions that are sending you to comfort foods. If you don’t address those emotions at the root and prayerfully work through them, they will always be there begging you to stuff them with food. So, what’s causing your chronic stress? What’s causing your anxiety? What’s causing your loneliness? What’s causing your sadness? What’s causing you to feel purposeless or uninspired? Begin to ask yourself these questions and dig deep for the answers!
Finally, remember this…
Emotional eating is an invitation to reconnect with yourself and with God.
When we navigate through life on autopilot and don’t honor our emotions, suppressing them day in and day out, we aren’t practicing nourishing self-care. We’ve lost connection with our soul and with our Maker. Emotional eating is a wake-up call to reconnect! He’s calling you into this powerful life work. And, my guess is that you’re ready!