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Go From Emotional Eating to Mindful Eating Part I

Do you find yourself looking for a snack whenever stress pops up? Anytime stress, anger, frustration or sadness hit do you wish you had some chocolate or a bag of chips? Turning to food for comfort during stressful times is known as emotional eating and can become a big health issue. If you notice that you have been gaining weight and really don’t know why, don’t assume it has to do with getting older and metabolism shifts. Really take a good hard look at your emotions. Are you totally checked in with how you feel about what is happening in your life? This may be why you are gaining weight and not realizing it.

You can gain control over this issue and believe it or not, it has nothing to do with food and more to do with tuning into your own emotions.

Overcoming emotional eating can feel like an uphill battle but once you make the change you will see food in a whole new way. You will learn a lot about yourself along the way and in order to make this change you need to create an awareness of your eating habits and take note of all the sensations you experience when you eat.

This week, take notice every time you eat. When you sit down to a meal, take your time. Slow down and first smell the flavors coming off of your meal. Take a small bite and let it sit on your tongue for a moment to savor each bite, paying attention to how it feels on your tongue and in your mouth. Do you salivate with the food? Does it make you feel happy eating the meal? Are you proud of how the meal turned out and tastes? Can you describe the flavors and seasonings? Is the smell appealing or does it remind you of something from your past?

By learning to connect the feelings you get when you eat back to your reactions and the reasons you should be eating. This is all about breaking that autopilot approach to eating. Be mindful when you go to grab a snack. Check in and see if your tummy is rumbling and giving you that “it is time to eat something” grumble. If it isn’t grumbling, don’t grab that snack and instead grab a big glass of water and your journal. Take a moment to write down what is going through your mind at that particular moment. It may seem odd and take up time, but to get to the root of the issue you need to dig deep. Write down whatever you are thinking, feeling or experiencing in your body, even if you think it doesn’t make sense.

It could be that you are bored or anxious with your current situation. If you are bored, keep a list of things you can do when you need something to do. I have a jar of these and on the days (which are far and few between) when I truly am bored I reach in and grab one and do what is on the sheet. If I am anxious, I go over what is truly causing my anxiety. Once I discover what the true issue is I can then deal with it and overcome the issue instead of grabbing a snack to hide behind.

“When we are more deliberate about how we eat, we increase our awareness and decrease our consumption,” says Dr. Edward Abramson, professor of psychology at California State University.

Discovering the reason why we eat and what we eat we will have a better understanding of our health, wellness and waistline.

Have you become a more mindful eater? What has helped you work through your emotions?

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