Tips to stop overeating, stop emotional eating, stop eating fast food, stop eating junk food
The following is a guest post by Tracy D
Hi friends, Tracy D. here. As a fellow recovering emotional binge eater, I have discovered that a powerful tool to stay on track is to always have a good emotional eating book or similar reference on hand for consistent reading and personal coaching. Otherwise, it is too easy to get busy and take our eye off the ball of healing. I recently read something so incredibly helpful to me and I would like to share it with you.
Many of us turn to food quickly during stressful times to “medicate” or “numb out”, like I did for years and still do occasionally. If you are reading this right now, I KNOW you understand this. We move to our favorite junk foods so quickly that we never stop to listen to any inner voice of reason that may be trying to speak to us gently in our own minds. I like to call this our imaginary friend. I had one as a child and it is still with me, only now it is my adult friend who talks gently to me when I feel I am sliding down that path of bingeing in a weak moment.
This friend says things to me like, “Tracy, what are you feeling right now? It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. That’s normal. How about if we go and find a quiet place to and close our eyes for a few minutes. I know you want those donuts in the vending machine but they will only make you feel worse later. Let’s just take a moment together to breathe and figure out what it is that we REALLY need right now”.
I know this may sound silly or childish but let me tell you that it works very well. You see, many of us did not have a gentle voice as children, nurturing us to understand our feelings and validate us. We would turn to food for instant comfort when experiencing any uncomfortable emotions because maybe we were inept at identifying them and/or managing them. We all have that inner imaginary friend to help us. We just need to ask for help and listen. This is our voice of truth that will gently guide us to what our immediate needs really are in a weak moment. I encourage you to try this for yourself and experience a new level of self-help discovery and understanding that is all part of the liberating freedom from binge eating. What comes next is a great feeling of self-efficacy and confidence that will help us move in a positive direction of better overall health and wellness.
Yours in great health,
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, eat healthy or workout regularly you’ll often have days where its very tough to stick to your goals. Today is one of those days for me. I just feel out of it and keep coming up with all kinds of excuses about why I deserve some time off, and how I should maybe put off my work until tomorrow. I find that on days like today all I focus on is “poor me” and “how bad I have it”. The best way I’ve found to snap myself out of that negative state is to read or watch something inspirational. Here is a very inspirational video I came across today that I wanted to share with you.
You can find more about Kyle Maynard on his website.
While coaching many binge eaters, and working with them one-on-one I’ve always found that emotional eating is the root cause of the problem or at least a major contributing factor…
Most of those I coach are individuals who’ve deals with binge eating for at least a year (some longer). And it’s not that they occasionally overeat, it’s at the point where binge eating is a pattern for them.
For example they tend to eat pretty healthy during the week but often have have out of control binges on the weekends. Or they eat healthy for 3-4 days and then binge for a day or so etc. and they’ve been stuck in that cycle for several months, a year or even longer.
Whenever binge eating becomes a pattern in ones life, it’s usually because their using food to emotionally cope or emotionally nurture themselves.
The way I describe it to my coaching clients is that a healthy eater who’s been eating healthy for several months or even years often has a tank full of positive emotions that they do not need food to cope with stress or to relax or to cope with boredom etc.
However a binge eater who has a pattern of binge eating often has an empty emotional tank…they are not getting the emotions they need to get through their day to day lives in a healthy manner. As a result they often overeat or abuse food in order to try to fill their empty emotional tank
Obviously this does NOT work, if you’re starving for good emotions and try to use food to cope it will never really work, even if it does it’s short term, however long term it’s not sustainable
A question I often ask my clients is what did you do in your free time whenever you had a period or a gap of time where you didn’t binge? Often they start remembering all kinds of things they used to do they’re no longer doing….
Some common examples are regularly exercising, regularly going out with their friends, regularly taking vacations, trying out new experiences or learning new hobbies, developing new interests, going to public/social events and regularly meeting new people…
In other words they had a FULL life, and were doing all kinds of things that filled up their tank with positive emotions and as a result they no longer overate, they just ate for nutrition and to satisfy real hunger instead of emotional hunger
Another question I’ll ask is how do you fill up your free time now? Often I’ll get answers like “well now I’m always busy” or “I watch a lot of tv” etc…they’re not even real answers more like excuses.
Obviously we all do that, we all come up with excuses that look like real problems/limitations in our heads…
I recommend that my clients slowly start incorporating some of those activities back into their lives, and i stress that they do it SLOWLY. If they no longer exercise even if they start taking a 10-15 minute walk daily, it will help them clear their head and relax etc.
If they’ve lost communication with their friends I recommend that they try calling them and checking on them…I recommend that once every couple of weeks they attend a local public event like an art gallery opening or a music concert
Once they get back into doing those activities regularly they start feeling better and filling up their tank with positive emotions and they gradually start overeating less and less
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, I also write a free email newsletter that’s filled with tips on how to stop binge eating and start losing weight, you can subscribe to it here. If you’d like to work with me one on one you can find out more about my coaching here.
Note: This is a guest post by Tracy D
Hello friends, Tracy D. here. The other day I had an encounter with my friend, “chocolate” that was all-too familiar in one way, but REVOLUTIONARY in another….let me share.
My husband came home from work after a long stressful day. I could sense the tension in his energy as soon as he walked in the door.
As he unloaded his briefcase and materials from his workday in the kitchen, he plopped down on the counter a box of beautifully wrapped chocolates that was given to him from a client that day.
I had a moment of challenge IMMEDIATELY.
Prior to the box of chocolates making it’s presence in my kitchen (where I keep NO junk anymore), I had NO cravings for sugar.
My husband was in a crappy mood, and I found myself immediately feeling tense about how the rest of the night was going to go and all of a sudden……I felt like pouncing on those chocolates just because they were THERE.
Did you ever find yourself in a situation where you really felt no cravings, but an enticing junk food item made it’s presence to you unexpectedly and you felt the uncontrollable urge to eat it JUST BECAUSE IT WAS THERE?
I did that for YEARS. I felt that the food controlled ME. Like I had no choice in the matter. I was drawn to it like a zombie or something. A great day ruined.
What Andrew taught me in his powerful book on how to stop binge eating, was to STOP and talk to myself silently. What was I FEELING?
When the box of chocolates appeared in my home (intruder!), I stopped the instant I had a slight “feeling” of diving in. I closed my eyes and thought…”Ok, what is going on?”.
My husband’s level of stress bothered me. I really was NOT craving chocolate at all. I needed to think about how I was going to manage feeling tense around my husband. HE needed me to be calm and patient.
I left the kitchen to go and sit with him and help him talk about his day.
He felt better and so did I. Comfort……WITHOUT the chocolates.
The box was still there the next morning, opened, with several remaining pieces leftover after my kids took their share.
I tossed them in the garbage….BAM! Oh it felt good. I never ate one piece because I took the time to understand that I really did not even WANT them.
So, my friends, when you encounter a challenging junk food that arrives uninvited in your presence, stop, breathe, THINK…..do you have to eat it just because it is THERE?