Here is the common emotional/stress eating story. You’ve had a shitty day at work that ends with binge eating in order to feel better. You beat yourself up mercilessly, promise never to do it again, then do it again the next night or the next week and so on. At some point maybe you have enough and you follow a diet, take advice on filling the emotional eating with some other activity, and apply all the discipline you have. Does it last? Probably not.
As humans, we create emotional attachments to almost anything. We can push and push to break that, but what is the point? The intuitive eating perspective is this, surrender. Surrender to the food and surrender to your feelings.
The real problem with emotional eating is not honoring the feelings behind it. When you come home from your shitty day and you start scooping out the ice cream, take a moment to think about the way you feel. Explore your emotions and allow them to rise to the surface. Honor them and know that you are human and as such get to have a range of emotion that includes both highs and lows.
Here is the crazy part, don’t put the ice cream back into the freezer. (Unless you want to, but who does)? Eat your chosen food and savor it. Be mindful and be present during this experience. Resist turning on the TV first and be with your food. With time, you will find that you know when it is time to stop and you won’t have the cravings so often.
Most importantly, be kind! I think that when people binge eat we have a tendency to punish ourselves as a way to make it more okay. Like, I ate all this cake but I treated myself like shit for it after so the scales are balanced. Forget that. Fuck that. Don’t give your power away to what is on your plate, no matter how much is on your plate. When you feel the negative voice creeping in, combat it with mantras that resonate with you. For example, I am worthy.
Lying is not necessary either, you don’t need to justify it to anybody, not even yourself. Be honest and be kind. For example, I have eaten this cake. As a result, I don’t feel good. But I still deeply love and care for myself.
Deep understanding, self love, and surrender are the keys to “breaking” the habit of emotional binge eating and stress eating. What mantras do you like to use when your negative voice wants to take over? Let me know in the comments!
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