Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Overcoming Emotional Eating

In order to overcome emotional eating you first have to understand what it is.

Emotional overeating is primarily eating to mask difficult feelings. When we experience any unpleasant emotion, we may be tempted to reach for our “sugar/simple-carbohydrate” fix (By simple carbohydrates I mean white flour, refined products, not fruits, whole grains or vegetables.) We also may be emotionally eating for at any time and for any reason, whether we are feeling anything or not aware of feeling anything in particular. We may be soothing our boredom or mindlessly snacking through the day. For many of us feeding ourselves becomes disconnected from physical hunger and at times we may not know any other ways to take care of ourselves.

These are stressful time and we all manifest our stress differently at different times. Some of us tend to hold it inside. Others explode in angry rages. Our responses may differ but when we are stressed, our bodies produce excess cortisol and cortisol is a hormone that increases appetite. This is important to know because sometimes if you realize you are extra hungry and you are feeling stressed, you will know that it is in large part due to the cortisol flooding into your system and you may choose to do something to manage your stress other that eating to soothe yourself. You could go for a walk, talk with a friend or take a warm bath for example.

In summary, to be your very best, naturally healthy, vibrant, beautiful self and to stop eating for emotional reasons, you must consider your total wellbeing. It is no longer possible for you to think in terms of calories in/calories out as your guide. It is more complicated than that and yet it is paradoxically simple as well.

If you think self-destructive thoughts such as “I really am fat. I need to lose these ugly pounds” you will feel bad and you will attract more” bad feeling” thoughts. Then you are likely to get stuck in a loop of negative thinking leading to negative behaviors, extra pounds, increased worries, stronger efforts to diet, more deprivation, discouragement, guilt, shame and fear of gaining more and more weight. This can lead to depression, increased anxiety and eventual apathy. You are likely then to submerge yourself in sugar and simple carbohydrates to shield yourself from these painful feelings for the few moments, hours or days of relief that you know these substances can and reliably will provide.

Once done with this cycle, you regroup and plan your next strategy for losing those pounds that you are sick and tired of hauling around. Perhaps this time a new diet has captured your attention or you saw a new exercise machine advertised that is guaranteed to melt your pounds away effortlessly and at warp speed. You enthusiastically embrace your new course of action. You are hopeful and optimistic. You pray that this time you have hit upon exactly the right method to achieve the weight loss results you have so desperately been searching for.

Your newly designed plan my work for a while but unless you make friends with yourself and attend to your emotional needs you will find yourself soon stuck in the same loop you so recently broke out of. You are likely to feel more frustrated, discouraged and depressed than before.

You can recognize emotional eating and hopefully are making friends with yourself more and more every day. You are now aware of how you may be setting yourself up to fail by expecting yourself to behave perfectly at all times. By now you can see that this has not gotten you anywhere that you want to go. These impossible, self-imposed ideals of appearance and behavior have kept you from relaxing and enjoying your life. You have been trying too hard to accomplish your impossible goals. It is time now to stop, to relax and to really give yourself what you truly want and desire.

Once you accept who you are and become gentle and non-judgmental with yourself, you will swiftly make progress toward to ideal weight, vibrant health and balance you want so badly. Each of you must figure out precisely your own plan to soothe yourself during difficult times. You can take advantage of the Bach emotional eating support kit which contains three powerful remedies to help you learn to appreciate your body (Crab Apple), remain in control of your eating (Cherry Plum) and to stop repeating your same overeating mistakes over and over again (Chestnut Bud). For more information about this extremely helpful resource, visit .

Pause, breathe and substitute a positive thought to turn around your negative thinking. Gradually you will find that your thoughts will become directed towards positive, grateful places and your life will become more positive in the process. As you courageously shift your perspective in this way, you move quickly towards the life of radiant health and balance that you have longed for.

It is vital to pay close attention to your thoughts and feelings. Your feelings represent your internal guidance system (which is never wrong). When you identify what you are feeling will know what to do every minute. Your guidance will come from within you instead of outside of yourself. Your internal guidance system will never steer you in a wrong direction. If you make yourself number one and heed the messages your feelings are delivering through this system (as consistently as possible, you will move closer and closer to meeting your goals.

Remember that this is your life and your body to do with as you wish. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing, thinking about or telling you. Emotionally eating and keeping yourself murky and drugged with unhealthy foods will never bring you the happiness that you deserve. To be happy, healthy and whole is up to you and the time is NOW!

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