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binge eating urges

Binge Eating Urges Don’t Go Away – Do This Exercise To Make Them Go Away

Binge eating urges

Binge eating urges can overtake our lives.  Do you feel like you have tried everything to stop binge eating, but urges still persist? Maybe you have tried distraction, going for a walk, or having a hot bath – but nothing changes. You still feel like there is this tension building up inside.  It becomes unbearable and you need to eat to resolve it. This is very common, so I want to break this down. 

 

Temporary comfort 

Even though binging at that moment is comforting, you are actually making things more difficult.  At that moment, eating might provide comfort by dissipating the thoughts and uncomfortable sensations in the body.  However, this is merely temporary.  They will return – followed by those heavy feelings of guilt, shame, disappointment, and discouragement.  

binge eating urges

Urges are uncomfortable

Similar to any habit (i.e drinking or smoking), the urge will return because it is part of us.  It is our survival brain being activated and sending a false message.  Essentially, we move into fight or flight mode, and our brain sends messages to our body that we literally need food for survival.    Now, this does not feel comfortable. And it won’t be comfortable or pleasent to move through these urges.  All we want is for the feeling to go away.  But it won’t.   However, the less we act on it, the faster the brain will understand that we don’t need to binge.  

 

So what can you do?

 

Separate yourself from the urge + observe the urge

Understand that the urge is not even you.  We need to learn to watch and observe the urges from a distance.  When we understand that we are separate from the urges, and it’s just our brain sending false messages – we can disassociate and consequently make different choices.

binge eating urges

Confused brain

Ultimately, our brain is confused and believes we need that amount of food to survive.  And you, (the rational part, which is the frontal lobe), knows the truth.  It knows that you don’t need that amount of food at once.  So, while you separate and observe that urge as something independent from yourself –  with time you are weakening pathways in the brain that send these false signals and you change your brain to live a binge free life. With time, the less you act on the urges, the weaker they will become. Until, eventually it will fade.  

 

 

Do this exercise to make the binge eating urges go away:

Imagine you are driving a bus.  You are in control.  But there is an annoying, very loud kid at the back of the bus.  This kid comes over to the front, and wants to take over the bus!  That kid is your urge.  It wants to take over your life.  It wants you to respond to them, and to act on it.  But you are the driver of this bus.  You are the driver of your life. You make the decisions.  That frontal part of the brain makes decisions, and you need to send that kid to the back of the bus. Imagine, you are sending this annoying kid to the back of the bus and you can hear it, but it’s further away and not so in your face.

binge eating urges

Don’t make the kid (urge) go away

Don’t try and make the kid go away – just separate yourself.   This kid has no power over you, so tell them to move to the back.  They will still be there, still talking to us, but it’s quieter because they are further away. Sometimes they come back to the front, and it’s really loud in our ear and they want to take over. But it’s YOU who makes the decisions.  You tell the kid that ‘You are not going to take over my bus, this is my bus, and my life’. And then send them back.

 

Eventually, this kid (or the urge) will sit for longer periods at the back.  We don’t want them to vanish completely, we merely want to make peace with them and reclaim our power.  We might even binge eat from time to time (and this is ok too).  What if we could allow ourselves to do that? This kid won’t be going away completely, but they will become quieter. Less overwhelming and have less control over our lives.  So trust that through this process, at some point the urges will become less and less.

 

 

Keep repeating it as often and as long as you need until the urge is small, quiet and weak enough so that you can keep feeling in control of your life.

binge eating urges

Become the observer

We need to separate ourselves from the urge.  Watch and observe it and you will notice it will have less power over you. This is how we slowly rewire and reprogram the brain.  What we fire, we wire. So what we act on will create new pathways in our brain and subsequently, new habits and realities.

binge eating urges

Binge eating triggers

Finally, it’s also important to remember that one of the main triggers that cause binge eating is not enough calories. So the most fundamental thing you can do is ensure you are eating adequate and regular meals with sufficient calories.  The Balanced Diet Framework is a self-study program I developed to help with this (I tell you what, when, and how much to eat to reduce cravings). I also suggest you eat food you tend to binge on, and integrate that into your daily diet (or regularly) so you don’t feel restricted.  Because restriction, food rules, and not eating enough is the biggest trigger for binge eating as well.  

the causes of food cravings

BALANCED DIET FRAMEWORK
EASY SELF-STUDY NUTRITION PROGRAM
OVERCOME BINGE EATING AND OVEREATING URGES

Telling you exactly WHAT, WHEN, WHY + HOW to eat

 

  • End the crazy binge and restrict cycle that leaves you feeling guilty and ashamed.
  • Create a healthy relationship with food
  • Strategies to stabilize blood sugar / reduce sugar cravings
  • Most importantly you will never need to feel deprived, hungry or like you are missing out again.

 

want to stop binge eating

Why You Don’t Want To Stop Binge Eating

Do you secretly love to binge?

Huh?! Some of you might be thinking ‘Wait what? Why I DON’T want to stop binge eating? That does not even make sense. I feel horribly sick and guilty after a binge, all I want to do is stop.’   

 

Tapping into our subconscious

Let me ask you this question:

Can you think of moments where you sometimes look forward to a binge session?  Is there a minuscule part of you that is scared to give it up and to let it go? There is always this unasked questions: What would happen if you stopped forever? Of course, your conscious mind would say ‘I would love that’ but if you really tapped into the feeling and inner-sensation of never binging again….what arises within?   

 

Now, I have no assumptions around what this might feel like for you.  It is an individual experience. Our subconscious world is so complex and deep and drives 95% of all of our decisions. That’s why it is important we ask ourselves those deeper questions and give honest answers so we can tap into the subconscious mind.

want to stop binge eating

Binging meets a need

For some people, they discover there is a subconscious part of them, that does not want to let go of binge eating.  Because this eating meets a need.  For instance, if someone deprives and restricts themselves throughout the day and is not consuming an adequate amount of calories they require, their need might be catching up on calories.   In this case – binging provides fast energy through high calory dense food.  Further, if you deprive yourself of eating hot chips, but then end up binging on them – the need might be to rebel against strict rules or to give yourself the pleasure you feel you missed out on.

 

Identify your ‘need’ –  to stop binge eating

So, what is the need you are meeting by binge eating? Maybe that is the only time you allow yourself to relax? I have had clients who say ‘If I binge, that means that I feel tired, exhausted, sick in my stomach, and now I have a reason to relax’.  Or it gives them a break from work, or an opportunity to procrastinate from studies or housework.  Maybe binge eating is your only way to have that break and rejuvenate?

want to stop binge eating

Who are you, without binging?

So really think about it.  What would you be left with, if you did not have binge eating in your life anymore? Who are you without those binges?   Sometimes we are so used to constantly worrying and focussing on food and our body – that if we stop, what don’t  know what else we will do! It is uncomfortable! What are we left with? 

 

Many clients have said to me that binging allows them to maintain a worried state about their body – and thus keeps them ‘on track’ and in control.  Because the fear is, if they stop worrying about food and their body, they will become even more uncontrolled around food.  And end up not fitting through the door! Clearly, I am exaggerating in this example, but this is the rationale made in the brain.   Ultimately, our mind is creating these worst-case scenarios that are much more exaggerated than it would ever be in reality! 

want to stop binge eating

Love

But because your mind is making up these stories, it feels absolutely scary.  So it is understandable many of us hold onto the binging.  And we need to hold ourselves in love and forgiveness for doing this.

 

Questions for you

So, what does binge eating do for you? What need does it meet? Take a breath and close your eyes.  Tap into your body and feel this out.   Once we can honestly identify this sensation or reason, we can accept it, wrap it in love, and let it go. 

want to stop binge eating

Suggestions if you want to stop binge eating

If you want to stop binge eating, I recommend you develop the habit of eating regular, adequate, and nutritious meals.  Because the number one reason for binge eating urges and triggers is not enough calories.   This is why I created the Balanced Diet Framework.  Within this framework, I teach exactly what, when, why, and how much to eat so you can reduce food cravings and binge eating.   This framework personally helped me overcome binge eating.  You can sign up here for this easy to follow nutrition program. 

 

Second, I recommend bringing food you avoid back into your diet (and yes this means chocolate)  (Sound counter-intuitive? Read more about this topic in my blog ‘Chocolate Cravings When On A Diet And How To Feel Satisified‘).

want to stop binge eating

Stop Binge Eating For Good

After we have worked on the physiological reasons for binging, we can then address the psychological or emotional reasons.  But unless we are eating adequate calories, we will continue to binge eat. So it is really important we cover that base first.    I would love to hear your thoughts around this. If you need any support along your journey, please reach out. 

Eugenia x

 

PS If you want to delve deeper, this podcast episode from Positive Nutrition discusses how the binge-restrict pattern manifests in other areas of our lives. Check it out here: Episode 164@ Nutrition Matters. 

the causes of food cravings

BALANCED DIET FRAMEWORK
EASY SELF-STUDY NUTRITION PROGRAM
OVERCOME BINGE EATING AND OVEREATING URGES 

Telling you exactly WHAT, WHEN, WHY + HOW to eat

 

  • End the crazy binge and restrict cycle that leaves you feeling guilty and ashamed.
  • Create a healthy relationship with food
  • Strategies to stabilize blood sugar / reduce sugar cravings
  • Most importantly you will never need to feel deprived, hungry or like you are missing out again.

 

YES! I AM READY TO EAT BALANCED

 

 

 

sabotage

Why Do I Self-Sabotage My Diet – And How To Stop

Self-Sabotage Of Healthy Eating Or Weight Loss

Have you ever set the intention to stop eating so much processed food or just eating less in general? And you eat well for a little while or maybe even a few months but suddenly everything gets chucked out the window and you go back to those old overeating and maybe even binging habits again.  Often clients tell me that every time they lose a little bit of weight, they start self-sabotaging again. So, why do we sabotage ourselves like that? 

 

1. Secondary benefit and gain

There is always a secondary benefit for every behaviour – even binge eating, overeating, taking drugs, etc.  Of course, in your logical mind, it might feel like ‘I am certainly not getting any benefits, I feel horridly sick and guilty after’.  Admittedly, on the conscious level, this is true.  However, in the subconscious mind (the part of the mind that is not currently in focal awareness, which drives 95 per cent of our decisions), there will be some benefit.  

sabotage

The subconscious mind (causing the sabotage)

To illustrate, this part of the mind is similar to the submerged part of the iceberg.  Namely, it sits there powerfully, but we are unaware as we can not see it.  Moreover, it will drive your decisions and behaviours without your awareness.  In this way, we might not be consciously aware of the benefits we reap from binge eating.  But as long as your brain perceives a benefit from a certain behaviour or it meets a need by this action, then you will simply continue doing it.  

 

Subconscious Benefits of binge eating:

  • Pleasure (for example, food might be the only pleasure in your life and you fear losing this).
  • Getting a break (working so much, if we binge we will feel sick and can rest).
  • Avoiding work (won’t have to do housework or jobs).
  • Protection (if you have experienced past sexual trauma, you might subconsciously want to stay a larger size to protect yourself from male attention and activating the trauma).
  • Avoid emotional pain (if I eat, I won’t feel my loneliness, sadness or grief, etc).
sabotage

2. Your belief of self-worth

We all have a fundamental core belief of our worth.  Undoubtedly,  this comes from a myriad of factors like childhood and life experiences.  So, let’s say this core belief of self is very low.  Now imagine you are doing well, eating great, exercising, and feeling amazing – you surpass and go beyond your core belief.  At some point, you will begin to feel uncomfortable.

 

Who do you think you are?

Everything inside you will scream ‘Who do you think you are? Do you think you can feel amazing? You deserve to be back down here because that is more comfortable.’  Further, maybe friends and family compliment you, so you feel pressure to stay that way.  Also, perhaps some friends are jealous, and you feel guilty and uncomfortable.  So you pull back (and sabotage).

sabotage

The thermostat of self-worth

To illustrate further, it’s useful to use an analogy of a thermostat.  Imagine it is set to 20 degrees and goes up and down.  Set at 20 degrees is comfort zone.  At the bottom level is rock bottom; the place where you decide to change your life and no longer will tolerate your broken relationship, a job you hate, your current weight, binge eating or lack of exercise.  At the top is the upper glass ceiling.  This is where we move beyond our sense of conditioned sense of worth and move into what we want in life.  At this level, we make aligned decisions around eating, exercising, and our health. Life starts to flow and we feel amazing.  We have everything we wanted. 

 

Do you feel uncomfortable?

But there comes a point when this upper ceiling becomes uncomfortable – the subconscious mind steps in and reminds us ‘Who do you think you are? You are not deserving. You have always been a failure and always will be.’  

 

Ultimately, the thermostat hits a ceiling and you sabotage back into old comfortable patterns and habits. You might continue bouncing back from rock bottom to upper ceiling.

showing a lady with a look on her face about to sabotage her diet

So how do I stop self-sabotage?

Simply, we need to recreate a new identity.  Because if we believe the identity ‘I have always been fat’, ‘I have always had eating issues’, or ‘My family has always had eating issues’ – we will create this in our conscious reality.  And as humans, we are wired to want to keep our identity and know ‘Who am I?’  

 

Break the belief

So, we need to break that belief about who we are and what we do, so we can raise that bar and keep going higher to embody the new identity. 

stop sabotaging by creating a new identity

Stop the cycle of self-sabotage

Essentially, the re-creation of old stories and beliefs (identity) is the constant work that we need to do to stop sabotaging ourselves. This process will help generate a new identity to regain control around food to live a life you deserve – filled by freedom, joy, and happiness! Finally, this short video by Joe Dispenza talks about How The Subconscious Mind Works And How To Reprogram It.  Please reach out if you need support in this process. Eugenia x

Eat when bored Stop Binge eating and emotional eating

6 KEY STEPS TO
END BINGE EATING CYCLE &
RELEASE EMOTIONAL WEIGHT

Regain power over food!

 

Binge eating and emotional eating is not a food problem, it is an emotional problem.

 

Ultimately, we can’t rely on will-power to stop binge eating. In this e-book I am addressing the underlying reasons why we use food as a drug and what our body is trying to tell us.

 

chocolate cravings

Chocolate Cravings When On A Diet: How To Feel Satisfied

chocolate cravings

Chocolate cravings

Chocolate cravings can be quite intense and it seems like, especially when you tell yourself ‘I want to eat well and be healthy’. It’s like your cravings for cake or biscuits escalate to beyond your ability to control yourself. BOOM the biscuit packet is already open.

 

Hack to manage chocolate cravings

If this resonates, and you want to learn how to manage your cravings – read on.  I will share a powerful hack that works incredibly well.  

chocolate cravings

Anticipated scarcity

First, to understand the hack we need to have a solid understanding of the psychological concept of anticipated scarcity.   I will explain this concept in some examples.  

 

Panic buying

I have had clients say ‘When we were thinking there would be another Covid lockdown, I frantically bought ice cream and biscuits because I worried they would not be available’. Another client rushed out to eat as much MacDonalds as she could.  Essentially, this panic buying is a psychological and behavioural response to feeling like food won’t be available.  When we think something won’t be in abundance, we go into scarcity or survival mode.  Essentially, we need it now, and as much as we can (just in case).

chocolate cravings

Limited edition

Another example is late-night commercials (remember those?).  The announcer would be blaring at you that ‘there are only 100 left and these knives are limited edition’.  They are using human psychology to make the product more tempting. Enticing us and generating appeal using scarcity.  When we believe we might not be able to have it – we want it more! 

 

Do you want what you can’t have?

Let’s be honest, we all want what we can’t have to a degree.  Have you ever liked a guy or girl who was not interested in you? This has happened to me, and I became almost obsessive over them!  I wanted his attention but he never noticed me.  Years later he wanted to be my boyfriend.  Funny enough… Once this happened and he was available, I was no longer interested.  Again, anticipated scarcity.  And the same thing happens with food.

chocolate cravings

Restricting food creates scarcity in the mind…

The same psychological premise as the above examples occurs with food.  If we decide ‘no pasta, no chocolate, no sugar’.  What will we suddenly desire more than anything? That is correct – pasta, chocolate, and sugar.  Moreover, cravings will tend to be more powerful than before the restriction was imposed.  

 

Understanding the HACK we need to use human psychology 

The psychology behind binge eating is powerful. With my clients, I use a combination of psychology, neuroscience and nutrition.  And it works 100%.   Ultimately, we need to avoid scarcity mode.  We do this by ensuring the trigger foods are available and abundant.  

 

HACK: We integrate the trigger food on a daily basis in a controlled manner (not merely responding in an uncontrolled way). Let me explain further…

chocolate cravings

Chocolate cravings…is this you?

So for chocolate lovers who want to regain control.  I recommended adding 2 squares to your diet every day.  But decide when you will eat these 2 squares.  Could be anytime.  Just have a small amount every day.  This next part might not make sense.  But you NEED to eat it, even if you don’t feel like it.  This is similar to the concept of reverse psychology.   Remember the example I gave about the guy I lost interest in once he showed interest? The same will happen with chocolate.  Your mind might even decide it is overrated after a few weeks of daily forced intake.

chocolate cravings

Do you crave hot chips, crisps and burgers?

Now these foods are a little different from chocolate and cookies.  I do not suggest eating these highly addictive foods daily. These foods are enhanced with additives, flavouring agents, extra salt and fat which stimulate the reward system giving us a feel-good sensation in the brain that becomes addictive.  We need to remove these foods from our diets, to allow our brain to relax from the constant high it gets from the food.  But, we don’t want to go into scarcity mode.  So there is a balancing act to achieve here. 

 

Balanced Diet

I suggest having these foods once per week (at the beginning), until you are ready to reduce them even further.  You decide when. In between, you need to focus on balancing your blood sugar.  Add 3 main meals with snacks in between.  Ensure to have protein and fat with every meal.  Have regular wholesome carbohydrates.  (Check out more on the Balanced Diet Framework here)

chocolate cravings

This is not a binge

Remember, when we decide to eat these foods once in a week – it is not a binge-fest.  It is also certainly not a ‘cheat’ meal.  It has nothing to do with this.  Ultimately, we are training the brain to relax and ensure there is no anticipated scarcity. 

 

Curb chocolate cravings

Try out this hack, and if you have any questions let me know.  For my free Balanced Diet Framework, click here or see below.  (I also have a free binge eating trigger guide you can download with immediate access).

chocolate cravings

The Balanced Diet Framework
Stop Dieting and Overeating – Easy to follow Framework for no more food cravings

The Balanced Diet Framework is for anyone who struggles with Food Cravings, Binge Eating, Yo-Yo Dieting and their Weight.

 

In this book I provide an easy to follow framework to reduce food cravings, end binge eating urges, increase energy levels and enjoy balanced, healthy and delicious meals.

 

Most importantly you will never need to follow another fad diet again.

BALANCED DIET FRAMEWORK
how to stop the habit of overeating

How To Break The Habit Of Overeating, Emotional Eating, And Binge Eating

How to break the habit of overeating, binge eating and emotional eating?

 

What if emotional eating, binge eating and overeating is a habit we have learned over our lifetime? Does it mean we can unlearn it?

 

Le’s have a look!

 

Have you ever thought?…

I have a food problem’ or ‘I am addicted to food’?  Or do you feel like something literally takes over you, and you can’t control what or how much you eat?  In my work, I have identified 8 triggers that drive binge eating and overeating.  This is blog #3 of the Binge Eating Trigger Series, specifically about habits (and how to break them).

 

Habits are created through repetition 

Do you find doing your shoelaces difficult? Probably not. Why? Because you have practised so many times and no longer need to think about it.  The same applies to driving.  Of course, in the beginning, it was challenging.  But through practice and repetition, you solidified a robust habit.  Pathways in our brain fire repeated synapses to make it automatic.   So, if repetition creates habits, we can just as easily change habits through the same process.   

how to break the habit of overeating

How to break the habit involves understanding habit formation

Essentially, there are 3 components of habit creation:

  • First, there is a trigger (for example you feel sad)
  • Second, you act out a behavior (for example, you eat)
  • Third, you receive a reward (for example, you feel good for that moment)

 

Trigger – Behaviour – Reward

 

So, what is a trigger?

A trigger is something that activates our urge to eat in the brain.  Essentially, it is an event or sensation that creates the automatic compulsion to do the habit. For example, if you binge eat when you feel stressed (stress = the trigger).   So, if you do the same behavior of eating numerous times for the same trigger, your brain remembers the feel-good sensation food gave us, so seeks it out next time we feel stressed.

how to break the habit of overeating

Human psychology seeks pleasure to avoid pain

It is critical to understand that food rewards us and changes how we feel.  And it achieves this instantaneously (just like drugs do).  So next time when you feel sad, your brain remembers what you did last time.  It will send a signal and say: ‘Remember what we did last time? We ate cake, and it felt good, let’s do it again!’.  This will repeat over and create an automatic loop – almost as if something has taken over.

how to break the habit of overeating

Eating is a Learned behaviour

It is vital to recognize that eating habits are often learned behaviours from childhood.  So give yourself grace.  For example, when you cleaned your bedroom your parents gave you a treat.  Or when you were sad, your parents said ‘Let’s get ice cream’.  You learn at a subconscious level, ‘When I am sad and eat ice cream I feel good’.  So it’s not surprising that many of us emotionally eat!

 

How to break the habit

Overall, the aim is to take the habit off autopilot by either eliminating the trigger or changing the behaviour.

 

1)Identify and change the trigger

Identify if there are certain emotions surrounding the binge eating.  Are you stressed? Sad? Angry? Identify what you feel at the times you tend to overeat.  By doing this, you are cultivating awareness through self-observation.  You are shining a light on the emotional trigger.

how to break the habit of overeating

Eliminate or change the trigger to break the habit

Ask yourself – Can I break, eliminate, or change the trigger? For example, imagine your trigger was stress.  Obviously, we can’t change situations, but we can change how we perceive it.   So ask yourself, ‘What meaning am I giving to this situation?’ Sometimes the same situation can look completely different for different people. Perhaps it’s not the worst thing to happen, but the best? How can you reframe?  Or if you feel lonely, can you reach out to a friend?  If you are sad, can you allow the feeling instead? 

 

If we can’t do this (for example we are a new mother and our baby is not sleeping through the night and we are utterly sleep-deprived which is causing overeating) –  we need to focus on changing behaviour.

how to break the habit of overeating

2) Change the behaviour

If it’s impossible to change or reduce the trigger, let’s look at the behavior.  So, ask yourself, ‘I know I am eating when I am tired, so what is it I can do to help myself when I am tired?’.  Because sometimes just being aware of what is driving the urge to eat help. Ask yourself this…

 

  • Can I find a moment to rest?
  • Can I ask someone for help?
  • What can I implement and do to get some support and energy?
  • How can I get more rest?

 

3) Reward

Finally, understand the ultimate reward (or state) you might be seeking through food.  What do we get from this behaviour? For some, it’s happiness or a calming effect.  So eating might be a way of self-soothing or a comfort remedy. 

 

Close your eyes…

Close your eyes and tap into what will give you true happiness and joy of a fulfilled life.  In this way, we shine a light on the intrinsic reward you are craving instead of the temporal dopamine hit from the chocolate.  These are very different.  

how to break the habit of overeating

How to break the habit of how we use food? I am here to help!

The idea of breaking the habit of overeating might feel overwhelming.  Especially if we have been “creating and developing” this habit over our life time. If you would like support I have a 9-week online group coaching program where I personally guide you through this process.  Register here to be notified for the next intake. Or download my free workbook to help you identify what trigger might be driving the binge eating. Let’s break that habit because life is way too short worrying about food!

Eat when bored Stop Binge eating and emotional eating

6 KEY STEPS TO

FREE GUIDE REVEALS

 

8 Hidden Reasons for Binge Eating and Overeating

 

Feel in control around food especially in stressful situations and end the cycle of eating secretly, feeling guilty and ashamed.

 

Reveal the hidden reasons why you can’t stop thinking about food and find out what you can do to feel normal around food again.

FREE DOWNLOAD
break the habit of emotional eating

Emotional Eating – Why We Eat When Stressed And How To Break The Habit

Break the habit of emotional eating

Do you feel addicted to food? Or feel like something is wrong with you because you are always eating? Oftentimes, it is when we feel intense emotions (such as anger, sadness, frustration, loneliness or even happiness) that we reach for food.  For some, this can lead to crazy binge episodes, food obsession, or compulsive eating.  If you are after change, this blog will help you break the habit of emotional eating.

 

The critical question is, ‘How do we manage stressful moments without always going to food’. 

 

Important to understand to break the habit of emotional eating

Let me be clear.  It is ok to eat.  In fact, food is meant to pleasurable and enjoyed, and we all emotionally eat to a degree.  It only really becomes an issue if food is the only way we cope with life.  In particular, if it becomes a self-medication strategy.

break the habit of emotional eating

What causes emotional eating?

1) Biological

One aspect for emotional eating is the biology of humans that is a cause of our emotional eating or binge eating.  Namely, when we feel big emotional states, our stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) elevate.  This activates our reptilian brain to go into survival mode.  Subsequently, we revert to subconscious patterns of what we know will soothe us.  So, our brain might start signaling that we need large quantities of food to survive.  Consequently, we feel an overwhelming urge to eat.

 

2) Subconscious patterns from childhood

The second massive reason many of us seek food for comfort, is conditioning from our childhood.  For example, the possible association created from our mum holding us in her arms singing a lullaby and feeding us to sleep.  Or when we got older and received a food reward for cleaning our room.  Or the family getting a takeaway meal to celebrate success.   In short, we learn that food makes us feel good emotionally. 

break the habit of emotional eating

3) Society normalizes emotional eating

Emotional eating seems to be normalized by society.  For instance, how many times do we watch movies and see a girl sobbing with a tub of ice cream to soothe her broken heart?  Similarly, a film where a guy goes to the pub to drink away his sorrows?  Essentially, these messages get fed to us, contributing to our learned and unconscious behaviors. 

 

What do we do in moments of stress, overwhelm, and sadness?

 

1) Mindfulness to break the habit of emotional eating 

When the craving kicks in, take a breath to calm down the sympathetic nervous system so we can perhaps make a better decision.  Then ask the following:

  • Why do I want to eat this?
  • Am I using food to comfort myself?
  • How can I comfort myself in a different way?
  • Also, can I feel any sensations or emotions arising in my body and where can I feel them?

2) Acknowledge the feeling 

It is important that we acknowledge how we feel and the accompanying bodily sensations.  Allow space for it.   In fact, many of us want a ‘magic bullet’ to make all our eating issues disappear.  And, probably hearing ‘sit with your feelings’, is not appealing.  Just think about it. You feelings are there for a reason. They give us a message so we can navigate our life. When we take time to listen to the message, we can understand what might be not aligned with our values, if we need to have a conversation with someone or if we need to make some changes in our life.

 

By avoiding doing so, we continue being unhappy. No amount of food will ever make us happy. What if we could find the courage to ask ourselves what our emotions are telling us so we can create a life we truly desire?

 

Commonly, the emotion we are avoiding is the reason we eat food (because food changes how we feel).  But, what if we did not need to change how we feel? What if we could be with our emotions and accept them.  

 

Let me be honest, it won’t feel comfortable initially.  But the feeling will pass.  Emotions pass.  We never feel sad all the time.  We need to learn to accept and create space for emotions.  

 

And what if, there is true contentment, pleasure, joy and freedom on the other side?

break the habit of emotional eating

Questions to help understand, feel and process the emotion:

  • What am I feeling?
  • Why am I feeling that way?
  • What do I need?
  • How can I meet that need?
  • Do I need a conversation with someone?
  • Would a day to myself be helpful?
  • Do I need a conversation with my partner? A cuddle?
  • Do I need someone to hold a safe space?

 

Ultimately, sometimes a gentle ear or a cuddle is all we need.  However, we tend to run on autopilot and try and get relief from food.  So, once we interrupt this pattern and allow space we don’t require food. It is really this simple! 

 

Processing strategies

Sometimes numerous emotions might arise.  If this happens, pick the strongest and the one that requires the most attention.  Take your time to feel and decide what you need to do.   Journal, write it down.  Call a friend and make an appointment to see a psychologist or counselor.  Allow tears, allow the grief, allow the anger. (If you are struggling to feel your feelings, check out this podcast episode hosted by dietitian Paige Smathers from Nutrition Matters – Episode 110: How to Feel Your Feelings with Tiffany Roe)

 

The goal is to bring the emotion out. 

break the habit of emotional eating

Be courageous to break the habit of emotional eating

Undoubtedly, it takes courage to apply this process and create new habits.  Admittedly, processing and releasing emotions can feel scary at the beginning. However, the more we practice it, the more we can learn to trust ourselves.  Allow the feelings to be, because they are messages – nothing else.   

 

Free workbook

This blog post is the second Binge Eating Trigger in the blog series of Binge Eating Triggers.  Download the free workbook below to identify 8 hidden triggers for overeating, binge eating, and emotional eating.  You can see which one might apply to you.  

Eat when bored Stop Binge eating and emotional eating

IDENTIFY 8 HIDDEN REASONS FOR
BINGE EATING, OVEREATING &
EMOTIONAL

Regain control over food!

 

Binge eating and emotional eating is not a food problem, it is an emotional problem.

 

Ultimately, we can’t rely on will-power to stop binge eating. In this e-book I am addressing the underlying reasons why we use food as a drug and what our body is trying to tell us.

 

FREE DOWNLOAD