Emotional eating seems to be something that affects most women, and it’s an area that holds us back from being the person you desire to be. My clients say to me – “if only I could get rid of my emotional eating or it could just stop”. I’m here to share with you the secret to dealing with emotional eating. Unfortunately it just won’t go away or stop without us doing the work first.
Some women turn to food, alcohol or other drugs to cope with painful emotions. However, these strategies only provide temporary relief and usually leave people feeling more distressed.
Why do we turn to food? Food numbs the internal pain and struggle that we are experiencing.
Rather than stuffing down and ‘wearing’ our emotions, (i.e. literally wearing our emotions as excess weight) we need to find alternative and healthier strategies to deal with them. Managing our emotional health will have a significant positive impact on our emotional eating.
We first of all need to create a mind body re-connection for many of you. Many women are so disconnected from their bodies as it’s safer that way. The number 1 way to reduce emotional eating is to start to re-connect with your body and get in touch with your feelings, sensations and needs.
Want to know the 4 main reasons as to why you can’t get on top of your emotional eating that I share with all of my clients in my private practice? Click here to find out.
Mind-Body Disconnection & Reconnection – A Strategy to Reduce Emotional Eating
Being disconnected from our bodies and feelings is a self-protection strategy, because it is often safer to live in our heads (analysing, thinking, reflecting, controlling) rather than really living in our bodies (feeling, trusting, being). Many women have learnt this strategy at a young age because living in our heads numbs us from our painful feelings.
When we are disconnected from our bodies, we are unaware of what’s going on for us, such as what we are feeling. All of our feelings are stored in our body, and if we are disconnected from our feelings, we are not allowing them to be expressed in a healthy way. Instead, we are just using food to continue to push them down and push them away, so that we can avoid the pain. This results in excess weight.
By not dealing with our feelings, they are coming out in another way that’s unhealthy. We can’t run away, and we can’t hide. This is a way that your body is trying to get your attention that something needs to be addressed, something isn’t working and something needs to be changed. So step 1, is to create a new relationship with your body by reconnecting with it, which allows you to feel what’s going on. We do this by a simple, yet effective body scan technique.
It’s normal for us to carry our stress and other feelings in our bodies. It could be in the form of tense shoulders, a stomach ‘in knots’ or a tightness in the chest. When we carry stress in our bodies, we’re often not even aware of it. Many of us may be feeling physical discomfort but are unable to connect it with our emotions.
A body scan process is a practice that can be performed daily or even several times a day, and can help you learn to identify what you are feeling and where you’re feeling it. This new level of awareness will then allow you to release the stress and discomfort in your body, having a positive effect on your total being.
It’s the uncomfortable feeling that is taking you to the food. The more that we can be aware of what’s going on for us internally, the more likely we can make a choice rather than be on automatic pilot (eating).
My experience tells me that most women turn to food when they feel anxious because they think that they are out of control. The thought influences the feeling, and it’s the feeling (anxiety) that’s leading to the binge. However, they believe that they are out of control around food and that’s the core issue (which isn’t the case). Do you see the distinction? This body scan below is a fantastic way to provide you with an internal strategy to help manage your anxiety so you can start using an internal approach to deal with your discomfort rather than an external strategy (food).
Here is my 5 minute body scan that I have my clients listen to at least once a day in my Online Freedom Program.
- Perform the body scan before you sit down to eat or when you feel a craving coming on.
- If you are unable to complete the body the scan, the next best thing you can do before you eat is to press your feet firmly into the floor to ground yourself. Then take a deep breath in for the count of 3, hold for the count of 3 and exhale for the count of 3. Repeat this 2 more times. This is a quick and effective way of adopting a mindful mindset when you are out with friends or when you are very time poor.
- When you are eating, slow it right down (place your utensils down in between each bite) and really connect with your body.
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