Do Eat With Your Emotions?

Weight Loss Hypnosis

Is binging your number one problem? When you are alone and relaxed do you eat anything and everything. It doesn't matter what it is — you feel have no self-control. It doesn't matter how I'm feeling because either way I always eat. Please help!

First, realize you are very much in control. It sounds like you are using food to meet needs and handle feelings that you don't know how to deal with in a healthier manner.

Yes, it feels “out of control” as “emotional eaters.” It often feels like the jelly doughnuts sprout wings and cram themselves down your throat. Other times it feels like an alien presence has invaded the decision-making center of our brains, making us do stupid things against our will. We criticize ourselves for being so weak and powerless, when what we really want is to be thin and healthy.

Let's get real. Fattening foods don't really fly. Eating requires a decision to eat. Eating requires a deliberate act. Therefore, it's impossible to be “out of control” of our eating.

Yes and no.

To understand this dilemma, understand that although eating does require a conscious decision to eat, it is influenced by both conscious and unconscious factors. We're not always aware of the feelings and issues that drive us to binge. We can be in such internal conflict that while our right hand is stuffing our face the left hand tries to stop it. We are bewildered with this vicious battle and end up feeling like a loser every time.

To understand this we also have to recognize the emotional power of food. Food is unique. It gets right down into our belly where we have all those “gut-wrenching” feelings and soothes turmoil. For many, food is a primary emotional coping technique. It distracts. It calms. It's dependable. And it is almost always readily available. No wonder, then, that so many of us feel out of control in the face of stress. We don't know what else to do besides eat.

When we spend all day meeting everyone else's needs, it's often the case that after the kids are no longer demanding our time and energy, we sit down and “give” to ourselves with food. It's crucial to avoid buying into the destructive and disempowering notion that we are “out of control” by recognizing that eating requires a choice. If we tune into the lurking feelings and issues that affect our judgment, then we can make a coping choice that might be more direct and ultimately, more satisfying than overeating.

Only then can we truly be in control.

Try an eating strategy called “empowered eating.” By becoming an empowered eater you will be more aware of what you eat and why you eat it, which will help you develop more stable eating patterns. Get started with the following three steps.

Step 1: Take responsibility for your eating. Be accountable. Specifically, find an eating plan that can fit into your lifestyle. You must recognize that no one can do this for you. You must take the lead.

Step 2: Eat with a purpose. View all eating as goal-directed. An eating goal may be physical, like nourishing the body, or it may be emotional, like coping with psychological issues.

Step 3:Be mindful of your eating behavior. Pay attention. Be fully aware of your feelings and the issues that are associated with your eating. Being an empowered eater doesn't mean you never again overeat because of emotional stress. It does mean, however, that when you do overeat, you understand why. And understanding the “why” behind your choices will make it easier for you to develop new, healthy habits.

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