4 Ways Self-Massage Can Help You Kick Emotional Eating Habits & How To Do It
If you're an emotional eater, the last thing you're thinking about is your own physical pleasure, right?
Unwanted eating feels so frustrating, shameful, and hopeless—and you can feel so much of that in your body. This definitely makes being in your body an un-fun place to be … which means you escape, disconnect, and continue to use food and eating in a way that just doesn't serve you.
So, what's a stress/comfort overeater to do?
An at-home practice of self-massage might be just what you need to infuse your relationship with food with calm empowerment.
How can self-massage help you on your journey to heal unwanted eating? There are four main ways:
Emotional eating is never just about food. It's about the needs you have that food is helping you fill. One of those key needs is self-care.
Massage helps you fill your need for safety, comfort, love, and touch that you often use food to fill. What better way to take charge of your own care and needs than by giving yourself the gift of massage?
It's a wonderful way to practice active self-care and start to fill those needs without turning to food.
When was the last time you felt happy in your body?
If you struggle with unwanted eating, the answer to that is probably, "umm … like, never." Ouch.
A huge part of the healing journey is learning to reconnect and love your body. It has powerful and amazingly positive effects on how you eat—and massage is a great way to boost your body love.
All too often, as emotional eaters, we are disengaged from our bodies—especially our tummy—and live in a world of head-centered emotional input. Self-massage gives you the power to gently flow back into your body and the wonderful feelings and connections there.
Try this gorgeous abdominal massage to soothe negative body image and get you back in touch with your tummy. Literally!
As you struggle to control your eating, you're also trying to control your pleasure.
The chocolate cake you know is so yummy that you can't control yourself. The delicious tub of ice cream you can't stay away from. You know that pleasure is your downfall, so to keep your eating from getting out of control, you've got to control the pleasure.
A life and diet with no pleasure equals boredom and unwanted eating more often than not. You use food to get the physical pleasure you're denying yourself.
So, while you may not be ready to explore finding pleasure in your food, self-massage can be an excellent, safe place to start introducing pleasure back into your life.
You have total control and complete privacy. By letting go and feeling physical pleasure, you'll find you can fill your body with calm and pleasure without turning to food.
No exploration of emotional eating or massage would be complete without a look at stress.
You know stress drives your unwanted eating, and I'm sure you know that massage relieves stress. So, take that power into your own hands, and start to feel the benefits—one of which is likely to be a more relaxed relationship with food.
How to do it
There are lots of kinds of self-massage, and doing it is as easy as picking a body area and moving your hands over it in a way that feels good. Great places to start are:
Head and neck
Use all your fingers to draw small circles all over your forehead, scalp, and down the back of your neck. Use your thumbs to gently squeeze the back of your neck. Two powerful areas to concentrate on are:
1. The space about an inch or two back from each of your eyes.
2. The bony ridge on the back of your head where you neck joins your skull.
Use your dominant hand and lay it flat on your right hip. Using gentle pressure, run it straight up to just under your ribs. Now, turn the corner and rub from right to left. Turn again and rub down to your left hip. Now, from your left hip over to your right.
Repeat in a continuous cycle. The direction is important—you're rubbing in the same directions that your intestines flow.
Foot massage can be especially grounding. If you're really feeling "stuck in your head" a little foot time can bring you right back down to earth.
Take your shoes off and stretch your toes. Lift your right foot up so you can reach it comfortably, and simply stroke from heel to toes, top and bottom using a pressure that feels good. Don't forget your toes and ankle. When you're done, repeat with your left foot.
Whatever you do, and wherever you choose to start, self-massage is an amazing way to practice self-care, and is a powerful addition to any healing journey.
Ready to learn more about what anxiety, brain health, and your diet all have in common? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Dr. Mark Hyman.