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Are you an emotional eater?

January 4, 2013

What happens when you get upset? When you’re bored, when you’re happy, when you aren’t tuned in and paying attention to life? Do you turn to food to fill the void, to avoid what you feel you can’t or don’t want to deal with?

Have you ever contemplated that being an emotional eater is giving all your power away? Being bulimic for over thirty years, I knew a long time ago that eating when someone pissed me off was allowing them to control my actions, or “make me eat”. (Saying, he/she’s gonna drive me to drink really isn’t all that funny when you think about it.) And why exactly did I want to give a boss, or significant other, or my parents back in the day that much control over me? Hmmm, I didn’t.

One of the biggest first steps for dealing with emotional eating is learning to be in the moment. Living consciously. Thinking and making conscious decisions before you act…er bite into that cake, pizza or bag of Doritos. I’ve traveled with the best of ’em during my bulimia. Eating until there was no possible room for anyone or anything to get to me. But thankfully along the way I learned how to be more aware and make conscious choices—choices I wanted to make vs. those I would later regret.

Here’s a couple of exercises you can use to begin being more in the moment and make conscious decisions.

1. Practice being present during small tasks
When you brush your teeth, concentrate on what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. When you walk the dog, watch the dog, smell the fresh air, see the flowers, birds and greet the neighbors. Be in that moment.

If you’re exercising, focus on your heart, or the muscle you’re working when you work out. If you’re in a meeting concentrate on what is happening or being said. Practice your active listening skills in meetings or on phone calls, refrain from multi-tasking. And don’t spend your time ready to attack with your response, that isn’t listening.

My favorite—look at people’s faces that pass you when you are in your car at a stoplight. Look at each person, be in that moment.

2. Make a list of what you really want
Once you have identified what you want and what you need to do to get there, it’s a heck of a lot easier to get there. If your goals and desires are mushy and unclear how can you expect to know the actions you need to take to get there?

3. Write down your goals
Now that you have identified what you want (stop emotional eating and feel good about yourself) you want to continually remind yourself (in a positive way) what the goal is. What you continually focus on is what you attract. So focusing on what you want gets you closer to it much more quickly than thinking about all the times you fell off the bandwagon.

4. Read your goals daily
Repetition is the key to helping you reach new goals. Read your goals out loud every morning when you wake up and at night before bed. Go to sleep visualizing and feeling what it’s like to be free of the trap you’re caught in. See yourself navigating emotional situations by calmly speaking your mind and dealing with the situation. Feel how good it feels to be FREE!

5. Expect the results you want
You can’t reach a destination by continually telling yourself there’s no way you can do it. Spend your time encouraging yourself, if you slip off and have an emotional food fest, dust yourself off and get back on the horse again. It’s easier than you think—because the past does not equal the future. It’s yours to create however you want to.


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