April 5, 2015

Overcoming Emotional Eating [+ My Top Tips!]

This past weekend I hosted a Passover Seder and it was so much fun. It got me thinking about how we connect and share with each other, and the evening inspired me to share even more with you.

Recently in my Rockstar Club Q + A call, I got vulnerable and shared my personal story around emotional eating. To be honest, it’s a continual work in progress for me. To this day I have plenty of moments where I am chowing down on whatever I can find in the cabinets out of pure emotional angst, frustration, fear, boredom, or just plain feeling like shit.

My story first began when I saw a divide between myself and my older brother as teenagers. He’d come home after school and eat Stouffer’s mac and cheese, pizzas or put together an elaborate snack. Luckily, his metabolism could keep up with it. He’s thin, always has been and probably always will be, but my body never quite worked that way.

But watching him eat made me want to do it too. “Fear of missing out,” I’d say. Not to mention, emotional eating’s a behavior we both picked up from my father. Almost as far back as I can remember, my mother was hiding food from him because he struggled with his weight. He’d often even use us to get his favorite treats. When we were out on errands or in the city, he’d insist, “You want ice cream right?” “Yeah you want ice cream.” Usually it was a big soft pretzel or bagels, but he always ended up eating most of it.

Why am I telling you all this? The point is that most often our worst habits aren’t even ours. We pick them up from our mothers, brothers, fathers, sisters and teachers. We hold on to them as our own, for far too long. Today I give you permission to leave the stories about you being an emotional eater behind. You are your habits, and you always have the power to create new ones. {tweet that!}

Here are my top tips on overcoming emotional eating:

1. Acknowledge the Issue without Judgement – If you’ve ever heard me tell my emotional eating story, you probably picked up on the fact that I don’t put myself down. I don’t talk about what a failure I am. I don’t shame myself for all the progress I have yet to make. Instead I like to focus on what I have already accomplished. All the positive changes I’ve already made.

2. Turn to Tea – I use tea, almost medicinally. Each morning when I get up, when I return home after being out and following dinner, I put on the kettle. It’s a non negotiable. This forces me to spend some time in sipping, settling into stillness.

3. Set your Food Intention – Before you even get home, set your food intention. And try not to include anything you are trying NOT to eat. Instead, focus on the type of experience you want to have. “Tonight I will save my appetite for a delicious and beautifully prepared meal that satisfies both my stomach and soul.” Often mine is simply “Tonight I will only eat until I am no longer hungry.”

4. Support Yourself (Or ask for support!) – One way in which you can set yourself up for success is by not keeping your go-to comfort foods in the house. For me this means that I don’t usually buy nut butters or cracker/chip things for the house. But everyone is different. If you have to buy these things for your family, keep them out of site. In drawers or solid colored storage bins. Also if you live with someone you really trust, ask them to help keep you in check. Sometimes I’ll tell my husband, “Okay, I’m going to eat three of these. If I keep going for more, rip the bag out of my hand and throw it out!” Silly, but it works.

While these aren’t the most revolutionary emotional eating tips, they’re what has worked for me. I’d love to hear your stories and success tips regarding emotional eating either in the comments below or over on the Facebook page. This is such a personal topic for so many and I would love to support you in creating your new story.

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