My emotional eating treatment methods
It took me over 7 years to realize that emotional eating causes weight gain. In order to stop this vicious cycle I had to address my emotions. Although this is easier said then done I had to take action because my health was depending on it.
Just like unhealthy foods makes us feel unhealthy and uncomfortable after we consume them, it is the same with unhealthy thoughts and emotions that we allow in our mind.
They can cause anxiety, uncertainty, sadness, loneliness and low self-esteem. As a result of all these very uncomfortable feelings we turn to food for comfort.
Our unconscious mind remembers the ‘easiest’ escape route to feeling happy and of course, that is comfort food (at least in my experience), such as chocolate, cakes, pastries, packaged snacks, etc.
The power of keeping a record of our emotions…
When I finally decided to change my life and be fit and healthy! One of the 4 core steps is to record everything I eat or drink every day.
This allowed me to identify my eating patterns such as bad eating habits and unhealthy food choices. It made me feel accountable and responsible for the choices I was making.
This made me think about my emotions. Suffering from depression and anxiety for years has kept me captive in this vicious cycle of emotional eating.
This resulted in putting on weight and no matter how many times I would ‘decide’ to start a diet and lose weight! It never lasted more than 2-3 days because of my emotional eating getting in the way.
When I made my final decision to reach my goal weight no matter what, I had to address this issue of emotional eating and get my mindset right.
Once I took care of my mindset, I was able to control my emotions much more effectively. I learned to identify when I felt a craving for chocolate (my biggest addiction)!
It was usually because I was stressing about something, especially a situation I had no control over. For example, a family member is very sick or losing a family member.
I realized that fear and anxiety led me to make the wrong food choices, usually addictive foods such as chocolate.
So what kind of fear leads me to comfort eating?
- Fear of the unknown
- Be afraid of not being able to control a situation
- Scared of being afraid
- Dread of losing someone dear
- Fear of putting on weight
- Fear of out of control depression and anxiety.
I’ve been there and it’s a very dark, lonely and scary place. It feels like nobody understands what I’m going through. The heavy burden on my heart and the suffocating fear and anxiety that is choking me.
How am I able to face this fear daily?
I have to be very aware of my thoughts. As soon as I become aware of my mind wondering towards negative thoughts and thoughts about the future on which I have no control of. I have to gently replace those thoughts with positive thoughts and actions. For example:
Thoughts of gratitude (being thankful for all the blessings in my life)
Get busy helping others (when I help others it makes me so happy to see happiness radiate on their faces). Although I have to be careful with this one because many times I have been taken advantage of. I have to help people who genuinely need it.
Give to others. It is better to give than to receive. Ever since I was little I used to give my toys and clothes to kids in my class. The happiness I saw on their faces brought me great happiness. The happiness was so great that I would forget the big trouble I would get into when I got home and mum found out that I gave away my stuff.
It is also a good idea to start a headspace diary. This is where you record every negative thought you get during the day and what action you took in order to drive that negative thought away.
You will soon realize that your mind will lead you to the easiest possible way out comfort food. This is when you have to re-train it, talk back to your mind gently and train it to lead you to healthy alternatives.
The mindset and actions
Exercise. A 20 min walk outside or on a treadmill (no excuses!)
Meditation.It doesn’t even have to be yoga or some kind of sophisticated meditation technique. Just finding a quiet comfortable spot in your house, laying down and deep breathing, inhaling and exhaling.
I love to lay down on my couch by the sliding doors on the family area, lift the blinds up and look at the sky (especially when it’s blue). It was extremely relaxing and gives me peace.
I think it’s because I see the sky as never-ending… ascending into never-ending love and I know that somewhere far far away there is my greatest hero, God whom I love and call upon every day.
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Gratitude. Make a list of all the things you are grateful for. For example the fact that you have working electricity, a working fridge, running water, hot water to take a relaxing shower, a bed you can lay on and get a comfortable sleep, a roof over your head, etc.
No matter how hard life is, there’s always a glimpse of hope, always a positive we can find in it. We just have to think mostly positive and drive the negatives away.
Connect with loved ones. Call your best friend, sister, brother, mum, dad or whoever is close to you and loves you unconditionally.
Sometimes they share with you their problems and you will often notice that they can be bigger than your problems and you will find yourself thinking ‘ wow…and I thought I had it bad”.
Then, of course, you find yourself comforting them and it will make you feel happy that you are helping someone feel better.
Read Motivational and Encouraging Books/Articles/Quotes. This feeds your mind with positivity and trains it to think positive thoughts.
When you read something you will often realize that it comes back to your mind several times during the day, this is why the best time to read it in the morning when your mind is fresh!
Prayer and God’s promises. This is optional and is subject to choice but it helps me out the most in life. I find amazing strength in God’s word and promises in the Bible.
I find strength and hope in prayer as I tell God all my problems and fears and I know he is my biggest help and support.
Once you learn to identify your emotions and what triggers your emotional eating, you will slowly but surely find yourself in a better and happier place. You will start making healthy food choices and to replace emotional eating with healthy alternatives.
Thank you so much for reading and if you have found this post helpful, please share it