We eat because we’re hungry, right? Well, I wish it could be as simple as that. In our part of the world where food is everywhere, oversized, and readily available, our eating patterns have gone way beyong fighting hunger. You think it’s not your case? So you never have a snack when you go to the theater or watch tv? So you never seek comfort in your favorite food? You never had a sudden chocolate craving? Or you never opend the fridge automatically because you had nothing else to do? Well, then, this post is not for you. For everybody else, here’re my best advices on how to overcome emotional eating.
Identify your craving:
No, we don’t always have cravings because we’re hungry. In fact, most of the time, there’s an emotional feeling hiding behind them. Are you so bored that you end-up opening the fridge even without thinking? So upset or sad that you just feel to change your mind with a huge ice cream bowl? So happy that you want to celebrate or to “reward” yourself with food you like? As you can see, cravings can have many sources.
Try something else:
Once you’ve understood what’s behind a particular craving, you can now have more power over it. As example, if you’re bored and don’t know what to do, try to get your mind busy. Read a book, practice your favorite hobby, go for a walk, call a friend, surf the net, etc. Most of the time, your hunger will naturally go away. The same thing goes with other emotional eating causes. If sadness, hanger or stress is the problem, you could seek comfort in a friend, write a journal, take a relaxing bath, listen to soothing music, or do anything that makes you relax or cheers you up (besides food, of course!).
Try letting it go:
When cravings are powered by emotions, learning to let go can be a powerful tool. There’s many ways to do so. Personally, I like using the Sedona Method, from Hale Dowskin. Finding this method has been a revelation for me. The basic is: be aware of your feeling. Welcome it as it is. Stop thinking about how unpleasant, unhealthy having this feeling might be. Sometimes, just by welcoming the feeling completely, the emotion will disappear by itself. If it’s still there, ask yourself if you’re able to let it go, if you want to let it go, and when you’ll do it. Don’t try to imagine the answer of to think of it rationally. Instead, let it emerge from within. And even if one if the answer is no, it’s ok too. Just ask yourself if you would rather be stuck with the feeling, or feeling the freedom of letting it go. It’s likely that you’ll want to choose freedom! For more information about this powerful method, visit the Sedona Method official website.
If you find a way to get out of that feeling without the use of food or other unhealthy stuff, you’ll not only feel better, but you will see how empowering it can feel to be able to control your cravings naturally.
If anything else fails
Sometimes, whatever we do just won’t stop the craving. If it’s the case, there’re some healthy swaps you can make to minimize the damage.