How to Stop Emotional Eating
5 Steps to Breaking Free from Emotional Eating
If you want to learn how to stop emotional eating then start by shifting your focus away from the food on your plate. Food gives us vital nourishment but often the comfort we seek can be better found elsewhere. Take a look at these 5 steps to breaking free from emotional eating.
In theory, we all know that nourishing ourselves with pure, nutritious food is what is best for our bodies, minds, and spirits. So why on earth is it that when we know that something is so good for us, that we turn around and do the exact opposite at times and fill our bodies with junk or we grossly overeat when we aren’t even hungry? What on earth is the point of that?
Step 1: Recognise That Food Is More Than Just Caloric Intake
Our relationship with food can be one of the most emotionally charged and complicated of our relationships. Food can be something that nurtures us, gives us a connection to the Earth, and can bring us closer to ourselves and the people we share food with…or our relationship with food can fill us not only with calories, but with shame, fear and emptiness depending on our state of mind.
For example, a neighbor that drops by with a loaf of homemade bread fresh from the oven is offering more than bread, they are offering their kindness and their friendship. By ingesting that bread with consciousness of the love that was poured into it, we nourish both our bodies and our souls.
On the flip side, after a bad day at work if you huddle up in a corner with a pint of ice cream and a spoon, and eat expecting the ice cream to diminish the problems of your day, you will more than likely end up with a feeling of disappointment even heavier than the calories you just ingested.
Step 2: Pay Attention
When food cravings hit, pay close attention to your emotional state of mind. You may be able to find patterns. For example, when you feel the need to reach for something sugary, are you usually tired? Stressed? Sad?
Listen to what your body is telling you, and honor the messages that you find of hunger, rest, need for comfort or for energy. From a honest and sincere assessment of what your body really needs, you will be able to look for the healthiest way possible to give it what it is asking you for.
Step 3: Look for Alternatives
If you find that you overeat or reach for a certain junk food when you are tired
, maybe try substituting whatever it was you were reaching for with a fifteen minute nap followed by a stimulating pick-me-up shot of wheatgrass. This will address what your body actually needs.
If you are stressed, try a warm cup of chamomile tea with a little honey to soothe your nervous system as opposed to a platter of donuts. If you are sad and tend to binge hoping to ease your pain, try instead inviting a friend over to cook a healthful dinner and to share a long heart to heart conversation.
Be honest with yourself about what you really crave. Try to go directly to addressing the actual root of the issue instead of trying to mask the problem with food.
Food is just one way that we nourish ourselves. Spend as much time and energy making your relationships, career, and spiritual life as healthy as your diet, and you will soon find that emotional cravings may not have such a strong hold over you.
Step 4: Accept Your Slip-Ups
Food is undeniably important, but do not give it more power in your life than what it deserves. Do your best to try to not look at food with either a sense of dread or desire.
If you slipped and devoured an entire chocolate candy bar after an argument with a loved one, so be it. It is over.
The unnecessary frustration and shame you may put on yourself afterwards for giving into junk food can likely do more harm to your body than the sugar and fats of the chocolate bar. It may not have been the healthiest choice you could have made, but honestly, it probably did not do irreparable damage to your body.
Use your slip-ups to learn more about yourself and your emotional attachments to food, and from that point on, do your best to make more intelligent decisions in the future.
Step 5: Cleanse Your Instincts
One of the most dramatic and powerful things that you can do to lessen the intensity of emotional food cravings is to cleanse your body as profoundly as possible.
Sticking to a healthy diet will naturally cleanse your body of toxins over time, but a deep cleanse at least once or twice a year can do wonders for clarifying your body’s communication channels. A cleanse makes you more sensitive to what your body is really trying to say, and you will be more in tune with how to respond. Doing a 2 or 3 day liquid greens cleanse, possibly supported by some herbs that help to move accumulated toxic waste out of your intestines can help you purge old matter, both physical and emotional, that does not serve you anymore.
Another benefit of a cleanse is that after you put all of the commitment and effort into getting your body clean, you are less likely to recklessly fill it up with food that does not support your efforts. It’s like if you spent the entire morning mopping the floor on your hands and knees to the point where it glistened in every corner, you probably would think twice before walking across it with dirty, muddy shoes.
A healthy raw food diet is an incredibly powerful way to nurture and respect your body, but you must realize that it is only one piece of the puzzle. Understanding the relationship between food choices, the emotions that you are feeling, and what you are expecting your food choices to solve is part of the path to a more holistic health.
It is important to remember that making healthy food choices is a conscientious path, and that there will be an infinite number of opportunities along the way to learn more about yourself. Little by little you will learn to be more in tune with our body’s signals and needs, and will have the awareness and vision for how to best respond.
In the meantime, make the best choices that you can, feel rightfully proud of yourself on the days that you make great decisions and forgive yourself fully for the days that you maybe could have done better. Know that there is opportunity in every experience to better align yourself in the direction of where you want to be heading!
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