How to end emotional eating?
One of the ways of winning with emotional eating [EE] is to take the emotions out of eating. Separate the two. Like a pea from a pod… How do we do it?
Here are two examples from my own life. And just be aware – I’m not doing it every time I want to eat. That would be pretty crazy. But now… that’s mostly on my mind because if I’m helping others lose weight – I better know what they are going thru.
The first situation. Awareness of emotions.
This morning on the meditation pillow I noticed my mind racing.
It was interesting to me: because sometimes there is nothing there in my mind, I mean, there is not a thought! I keep looking… – nothing, cosmic vacuum!
And sometimes there are hundreds calling for attention. Like today.
“Maybe that’s the effect of caffeine” I thought. “My body’s telling me I had too much of it.”
It was 5:45 am and I already had two cups
An hour later I reached to make a third. But I stopped: Why do I even want it?
(here I separated the emotions and the substance)
The answer was comfort. I wanted comfort and excitement.
Instead of making coffee I wondered about other ways I can have it.
The comfort would come from connection. And the excitement from creativity and going to a meeting.
(I realized I may not only be addicted to coffee. It’s giving me some emotional comfort.)
The second situation. Catching a negative habit causing an unwanted emotion.
The other day I came to the kitchen in the evening looking for something sweet. I have candy saved for someone else and I was considering eating it. And then lying about it.
But I questioned that thought. (mindfulness)
I am a person who want to eats sugar? No. (so the action would not match my new identity)
Why do I want it? Comfort. (connecting with the feeling)
What was I thinking before I thought about candy? (looking into the source of the feeling)
I was on facebook looking at other people having a “real life” / But is this a reason to sabotage my body and brain with sugar? (realizing the insanity of the situation 🙂
(By the way someone should come up with a good definition of “real life”! )
What do I need to do to feel better? Create. Creativity makes me engage deeper with “real” life.
No candy eaten. Yes it’s hard. But possible. It’s becomes easier, when you step away from your own emotions. Allowing the mindful part of you to observe. Sounds like lots of thinking. In reality it took less than a minute.
So when you find the negative emotions within, ask:
- Why is it here?
- What is it trying to tell me.
- How can it help me evolve?
- What good can I create from this?
Emotional eating doesn’t need to happen because of things like loneliness (coming back to an empty home after divorce) or stress (eating stuff from vending machine at work) or unworthiness because you compare your true inside to other people’s colorful, shiny outside.
You may be overeating because you feel a tension. A new creative idea may be trying to express itself thru you. That creates a creative tension. Creativity requires focus. Focus requires effort and eating is easier.
I remember days, when I wanted to eat constantly. But these were the days when new ideas were coming together.
What are you feeling?
Are your emotions making you eat, drink? Or create experiences that serve you?