Ok hold tight, this is a longer one but trust me stay to the end.
Emotional eating. Like you I was stuck there and could not see a way out.
Going from one diet to another. Losing weight only to gain it all back again and more within a matter of months. You have probably tried so many exercise routines and eating plans but for some reason always find it hard to stick to them?
Or perhaps you reached your goal weight and then within a matter of months ended up re-gaining all the weight you lost plus more?
And you wonder to yourself, why does this keep happening?
Why does my willpower only last for a certain amount of time?
Why can I not stay disciplined all the time?
This normally makes you feel guilty, ashamed and you are so sick and tired of being in this situation again.
Trust me, you are not alone. Tn fact there are millions of us that have either been in that situation or are in it now. Before I became a Registered Nutritionist, I enrolled into a slightly different course to Nutrition. It was Psychology. It was in another country, away from home. I suppose up until then my weight was pretty stabilized. I wasn’t entirely happy with my weight, but this was more down to self esteem issues. Back then I didn’t recognize many issues surrounding food.
Until that year I moved away from home. I gained quite some weight and developed my emotional eating pattern. I would go from one diet to another. Restrict myself. Which would end in periods of overeating and generally being unhealthy, drinking alcohol and not exercising until I could gather up the strength to go on another diet. Again.
Sound familiar? I wasn’t getting anywhere. Why? The problem was I was using food to block out how unhappy I was. I was using food as comfort to block out how I really felt and using it to soothe myself but this feeling of relief from food would only be short-lived.
Signals that trigger emotional eating normally mean your body is trying to tell you that something is out of balance. Maybe you are depressed. Suffer from anxiety. Or are unhappy with a particular situation in your life. And this is how you are comforting yourself. Blocking out what is happening and forgetting the reality of what is going on.
Eating right and exercising are crucial for weight-loss but they are only one part of the puzzle. Most programs only focus on these areas which is actually applying external solutions to internal problems. This will never be successful in the long term. It’s just covering up the issue with a blanket instead of going to the core of the problem and working from there. This is one of the reasons why restricted diets aren’t sustainable.
So ask yourself
Do you eat when not hungry the majority of the time?
Do you seek comfort in unhealthy foods, continue to eat when you know you have had enough?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, something is out of balance.
With my situation, what was out of balance for me, was that I was unhappy with my situation. Where I lived. My lifestyle completely changed so quickly and dramatically. I felt stuck and I was living a lie. Telling everyone I loved it, when inside I knew I was so unhappy.
So now how do you finally move anyway from living in this world of emotional eating like I did?
You need to determine which area of your life is out of balance. Look at emotional, physical or even spiritual imbalances.
What is causing you to overeat? What is causing you to use food as comfort?
It could be something that happened when you were a child that has stayed with you. The environment you lived in as a child. It could be a previous/current relationship or the current job you have. It doesn’t have to be something in the present day, it could be from your past. These are just examples.
You first need to master your self care skills, which will help you be able to connect with yourself again. Stop self defeating thoughts. Learn how to be kinder to yourself instead of punishing yourself. Soothe yourself instead of food soothing you. And practice new ways of accepting and loving who you are. This will help you overcome the emotions you have and help you deal with them instead of using food as salvation.
You then need to learn how to become mindful. The strategy of eating in-tune with your own body. And eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. This is so very powerful, yet sounds so simple. It’s a strategy that takes some practice.
This probably all sounds quite new to you but I am sure, like me, you have realised by now that dieting is not a permanent solution for weight-loss or emotional eating.
Living in a food free world means I now don’t feel guilty around food. My weight has stabilized. I don’t use food to make me feel better and I don’t rely on my so called willpower to get me through the day. I eat a piece of chocolate cake and eat it with enjoyment.
When you overcome your emotional eating, you are back in control while being free around food. You have to commit though. Allow new changes to come into your life, develop a new way of thinking and bust through any resistance you feel along the way.
This approach is a loving, long-term commitment to yourself. You deserve it! I will see you on the other side.
To your health and happiness,