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ARE YOU AN EMOTIONAL EATER?

Our food choices and eating habits often change when we are stressed, sad, dissatisfied, lonely or bored.  The type of hunger influenced by our emotions is different from an actual physical hunger and stems from a belief that certain foods will give us comfort and something to distract us from our thoughts. This can happen without us being consciously aware of it.

Do you….

  • eat more when you’re feeling stressed?
  • eat when you’re not hungry or when you’re full?
  • eat to feel better (to calm and soothe yourself when you’re sad, mad, bored, anxious)?
  • reward yourself with food?
  • regularly eat until you’ve stuffed yourself?
  • feel like food is a friend? Does food make you feel safe?
  • feel powerless or out of control around food?

No matter how powerless you feel over food and your feelings, it is possible to make a positive change. You can find healthier ways to deal with your emotions, learn to eat mindfully instead of mindlessly, regain control of your weight, and finally put a stop to emotional eating.

Practice Mindful Eating: this is a practice that develops your awareness of your own eating habits and allows you to pause between your triggers and your actions.  Emotional eating only serves to bury the feelings we are trying to avoid, and so, the next time something happens and you notice that you are grabbing for chocolate or other sweet foods, see if you can try some of the following tips to support you instead…..

  • Try and sit with whatever it is that is triggering you. You may want to write it down, talk to someone or ponder on what you are being challenged by
  • Do some gentle breathing until you feel more settled and the thoughts have slowed down
  • Change your movements, have a little stretch and try not to give too much focus to the emotions
  • Take yourself out into nature where you have the time to reflect and resettle yourself if you need to
  • Take a walk/go to the gym to help balance your blood glucose levels and relax your body and mind
  • Drink a large glass of water, or two and wait 20 minutes

Always give yourself the space to observe what is going on for you behind the scenes and if you find yourself still going for the food, make sure you don’t give yourself a hard time. You’re only human!!

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