5 Tips to Help You Overcome Emotional Eating
GUEST BLOG by Gara Steinfeld, NYC
Slowly, but surely, I have been breaking free from emotional eating. Here are 5 tips to help you overcome emotional eating. Keep in mind, what works for me may not work for you.
Be patient and enjoy the journey.
1. Look for inspiration.
Find someone who has achieved great things similar to your goals, someone who can help alter the way you view your own obstacles. My inspiration is Robin Arzon. Corporate Lawyer turned marathoner and ambassador of sweat. I look at her instagram (@robinnyc) daily and I have watched every one of her Youtube videos (more than once, no shame!).
In the book “End Emotional Eating”, Jenny Taitz speaks about the importance of developing realistic confidence. “Through deliberate attempts to pursue activities that require effort, you can chip away at beliefs you hold about yourself and what you can and can’t do”.
She suggests purposely engaging in an activity to build mastery.
I chose to start running again and set a realistic and challenging goal- to run a half marathon in 3 months. Since I started running and working towards this goal I have felt my confidence increase every single day. “The experience of accomplishing a relatively challenging goal both challenges negative beliefs and engenders realistic hope”.
I’m beginning to really believe in myself.
The other night I really wanted a cookie, or cake, or candy, or anything sweet really, that I could find temporary solace in. If this were before I started running, I would have gotten dressed and walked to the corner store at 12:30 at night, picked up some sweets, and ate the entire box, but I sat with my urges because I felt confident that I could overcome them, and I did, and I felt really proud of myself.
3. Practice mindfulness.
There is nothing more challenging than attempting to employ mindful eating in the midst of cravings, which is exactly why you should practice mindfulness with every single meal from start to finish, even when you’re feeling urge-free.
Check in with your body. How do you feel? Are you physically hungry? What is your body craving?
Slow down, mindfully prepare your food, observe the beautiful colors and textures, and practice gratitude.
Put your food on a plate, sit down with no distractions, and use utensils. This may seem like a given to some people but I can't tell you how many times I have stood in front of the fridge and ate, sometimes even with my fingers, and I almost never feel satisfied.
When we sit down and eat mindfully, tasting every flavor, we actually end up enjoying our food more and eating less.
4. Nurture self-love
Allow your actions to be made with love, not fear. Love yourself enough to treat your body right. Eat healthy and be active not because you’re scared of being fat or gaining weight, but because you deserve to have a healthy body and peaceful mind. Focus on nutrients rather than obsessively counting calories.
I live in NYC and the air literally smells like pizza, which needless to say, presents challenges in itself, especially because the slices are 1 dollar and larger than my head.
The other day I caught myself feeling sorry for myself, thinking about how it’s not fair I “cant have” pizza, but I quickly called a halt to those negative thoughts. I can have pizza if I want to, but I would rather make healthy choices that nourish me and I know that, right now, I probably wouldn't stop at one or two slices. Do I want to submit myself to that? No I don’t. There is no pizza on this earth that could ever make me feel as good as I do when I accomplish my goals. Now don’t get me wrong, there are no forbidden foods and I do enjoy pizza every now and then, but I ask myself what’s more important to me.
5. Let go
of the dieting mentality.
The more I focused on dieting and losing weight the more I ate, which made me feel even more badly about myself and stressed out, which led me to eat some more. “Suppressing food thoughts predicts food cravings and binge eating.” (Barnes and Tanteleff-Dunn 2010).
We must release the thoughts and behaviors that do not serve us. When we do so we make room for positive, nourishing thoughts. Our sole purpose in life is not to fit into a size 4. We have so much more to offer.
Remember it’s progress, not perfection. We make mistakes--that’s how we learn and grow. Practice forgiveness, and be kind to yourself.