If you are on a mission to lose some weight, three may be a battle going on between your brain and body. For anyone who has dealt with emotional eating, it can be difficult to reach your goals when troublesome feelings or urges come up. Here are a few bullet points and resources to help if you have been weighed down by emotional eating:
- Wait for the Cue: if we eat in absence of physical hunger cues, this can indicate an imbalance in emotions such as worry, anxiety or fear. Take a moment, before you eat, to quantify your hunger. Drink a glass of water, as dehydration is often mistaken for hunger.
- Simulate the Senses: we eat with our eyes first and foremost. If you food looks beautiful, chances are it will taste that way too. Picture a sad little piece of fried chicken, french fries and a biscuit (white/tan foods) vs a bed of kale, topped with red bell pepper, orange slices, and some hummus (green, red, orange, white). The colorful arrangement should tell our brains: EAT THIS (not that).
- Listen up: with each bite of food, pay attention to how it changes your hunger and fullness. You should leave a meal satisfied, not stuffed, and energetic.
- Eyes on the Prize! Rushed, unconscious eating often leads to dissatisfaction with meals and cravings. Picture working on your computer with a bag of trail mix in hand. Soon, you stop your work and notice the whole bag is gone! And you still want more! If, instead, you take a break, take a handful of trail mix to the break room, and eat each little nut, raisin and seed a few at a time. You then realize the quantity of food when you pay attention and are also able to pay attention to hunger cues! Chances are, that little handful filled you up just fine!
There are many resources for emotional eating. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Eating Minfully by Susan Albers, PsyD
The Emotional Eaters Repair Manual by Julie Simon