5 Tools to Stop Emotional Eating

Written by Marlena Torres

Emotional eating is a behavior that we have the power to change. The key to getting past destructive eating habits is learning how to nourish your body, mind and soul.

It doesn’t matter if you eat emotionally once a month, just on the weekends, or every single day. These tools will make it less likely that you fall susceptible to emotional eating and it‘s aftereffects.

Food should nourish, comfort, and delight us. Eating a meal can be a joyous and celebratory experience when these five steps are implemented.

1. Know Your Triggers, Know Yourself - Know your triggers and your “stress times”. It is important that we separate ourselves from triggers and stressful situations before we sit down to eat. This tool is listed as number one for a reason: without this tool, all the others listed will be very difficult to implement with success.

Try to come up with a delightful way to separate the stress that you may have experienced throughout the day and your eating time. This is especially important prior to dinner, when overeating is most common.

Some great examples are: short walks, deep breathing, dancing to your favorite tunes, a hot bath with essential oils, yoga, or jumping on a mini trampoline. It could also be reading your favorite poetry, walking your dog, or cuddling with a pet, partner or child.

The fifteen to thirty minutes it takes to relax before eating will be well worth it.

If you have triggers, honor them. If you cannot watch a movie while eating without eating mindlessly, then don’t do it. If taking phone calls while preparing dinner puts you in a frantic state of mind, don’t take calls while you’re making dinner.

Remember that your behaviors are trying to tell you something, and that you must listen closely and honor them in order to heal and live the life of your dreams.

2. Don’t Compromise - Make sure that you love your food. Do not eat nori in your salad if you hate it simply because you need B12 and sea minerals. You can get those things from a supplement if you are deficient in B12 or certain minerals. 

Many of us have completely lost touch with what we truly desire and enjoy in our meals. It’s time to get back to what delights us!

If you want chocolate chip pancakes for dinner, then you should eat them. There are high quality, whole grain options for everything, so there is no need to settle for a salad if what you are really desiring is something warm and fluffy with pure maple syrup drizzled on top. Always honor your desires, while also honoring your body and health.

3. Eat Whole, Organic Foods - Much of emotional eating is due to undernourishment from eating foods that are processed and lack nutrition. When we eat a whole foods diet rich in produce, our body will desire more of these healthy foods, not the junk! Even when we overindulge in whole foods, the negative effects are not nearly as devastating as they are when we settle for their processed counterparts. 

4. Personal Pleasure as Priority - Sometimes we emotionally eat not because of stress, sadness, or food addiction, but because we have forgotten to fit pleasure into our day! The result of this is only having food to look forward to. My friends, this is unacceptable!

If you feel unsure of what brings you pleasure , think back to what brought you joy as a child. Incorporate that into your life as often as possible. This is a priority for your health. Never forget it.

5. Connect - It is very important to take time to connect with yourself every day. Meditation is a wonderful way to do this. Try it out and see how it changes your outlook. Another option would be to stretch to your favorite music, or utilize any of the other options given in tool number one. 

When healthy eating, personal needs, pleasure, and connection are attended to, the need to eat emotionally begins to vanish. When we understand our body to be the temple that it is, we nourish it with nutritious foods and nourishing lifestyle practices that empower us. This transforms us into the amazing people that deep down we already know we are.

Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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