Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Emotional Eating

Admittedly I have always had a problem with emotional eating. You know, those times when you are so stressed out that you turn to food- often extreme amounts of overly processed and sugar laden food. Like tonight, for example, when I ate two pieces of cheesecake for desert, then turned to the chocolate covered raisins that I picked out of my trail mix. Oh yes, I had a sweet tooth tonight. It was almost like a demon inside me poking and prodding until I gave in and consumed mass quantities. A little of the “forbidden fruit” of chocolate and dessert is no big deal, but when eaten with such blatant disregard for portion control these temptations can lead to disaster. The disaster of having a spare tire above my bikini bottoms this summer.

I feel this guilt now that it is over and I have had my fun. I wish I had moved more slowly, savored the moment more. I still feel unfulfilled.

Emotional eating can only end when you take a good strong look at your personal life and relationships and decide what it is that is making you unhappy and craving more. Are you struggling at work, financially, in your family or relationships? Do you have a strong support system in place to help you cope with these stressors? And most importantly, what is missing in your life that you are trying to replace with the comfort and pleasure of food? Do you lack intimacy? Excitement? Time to yourself?

Once you have determined why you are turning to food to help you feel better, you can begin to change your habits into more healthy ones. If you find yourself craving or indulging in junk, ask yourself what you are feeling emotionally. Allow yourself to feel that emotion for a moment, whether it is fear, anger, worry or lonliness, and then take several deep breaths and clear your mind, letting go of any emotions as much as you can. Try to redirect yourself in this way each time you reach for the junk food at a tense moment. You may find that you would benefit from relaxing practices such as meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, or artistic expression.

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