Stress Eating & Emotional Fatigue

I once wrote about giving into my fatigue at the airport and eating a bagel when I wasn’t hungry. Everyone eats for emotional and stress relief reasons occasionally. That’s NOT what gets you in trouble.

It’s the constant, dimly conscious, reactive eating that keeps occurring time and time again that will put on weight.

Let’s face it – some people are barely aware of their own existence, much less their eating habits!

It’s what you do AFTER the emotional eating that matters most. If you berate yourself, it often sets off another whole storm of emotions – guilt, anger, self hatred, defeat, hopelessness, etc. that then have to be dealt with (and often lead to more emotional eating.)

If you allow it to continue, then a brief lapse into emotional eating can turn into several days of semi-binging. Continue reading

“Food Calms Me Down”

It’s a famfood calms me downiliar refrain that I have heard often from my clients.

I used to think the same thing. That is . . . if I took time to think about it at all.

If what you need is to be calm, then there may not be faster ways to do it, but there are far better ways to do it, with fewer negative consequences.

What it takes to calm down is to get better at managing your moods. It takes SKILL, (not willpower) to break habits and to separate food from feelings.

Yes, you may have to break the habit of reaching for food automatically (more on that later), but it’s not willpower that you lack.

Instead, work on developing emotional management skills using real tools, such as:

1. Emotional Freedom Techniques – (EFT) Tapping is the first line of defense. Why? It does 1 thing really well – neutralizes negative emotions.

2. Learn to identify and feel your feelings instead of stuffing them with food. Yes, food is a quick fix and a convenient “mute” button for emotions, but there’s always a price to pay.

3. Learn to “think” differently about how you feel. You can’t necessarily “think” your way out of a negative emotional situation in the moment, but there are strategies you can use to help yourself calm down.

4. Set boundaries and increase assertiveness skills. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and more in control when there are fewer demands.

5. Hitting the “pause” button. When you find yourself reaching for food, hit the imaginary pause button, long enough to ask yourself a couple of questions. Am I hungry? Will this help? If you are intent on eating, then it may not stop you, but at least you start to face the truth.

Your turn – What helps you to manage your moods?

Comfort Eating

We might as well face it, comfort eating is at an all-time high. Our lives get more and more hectic all the time. It seems like ever since 9/11, there has been a lot written about comforting ourselves and calming our fears.

One of the biggest reasons people overeat is for self-soothing.

When stress and uncertainty increase, we turn to what we know, especially if it has associations of a simpler and safer time in our lives.

Continue reading

How To Stop Overeating

how to stop overeatingIf you are always wondering how to stop overeating, there is one thing that needs to happen. You need to signal your body that it is satiated.

Here’s the key for how to stop overeating: When you consistently eat healthy fats, such as coconut oil, you provide vital nutrition to your body. But beyond that, you trigger a powerful mechanism that is key to success in weight loss: satiation. Continue reading

The Doughnut Truth

emotional_eaterIf you are an emotional eater, then diets are a “doughnut truth.”

The writer, Vladimir Nabokov coined the term doughnut truth to mean “only the truth, and the whole truth, with a hole in the truth.”

What diets can offer to an emotional eater is no more than that – a truth with a hole in the middle, a big hole.

What they say isn’t wrong, exactly, but it is massively incomplete.

To be healthy, you DO have to find a way to eat less, and exercise more. But you also have to find a way to manage your emotions that are driving the overeating. Continue reading

5 Steps To Managing Your Stress Eating Triggers

What’s a stress eating trigger? Anything that makes you want to eat. It could be something you see, hear, or smell. It could also be a thought or an emotion emanating from inside you. Yes, your own self talk could trigger the urge to eat!

The trigger is the WHY.

So it might go like this – “every time I feel tired, bored or frustrated, I have the urge for something sweet.” Continue reading

Is Stress Eating Your Answer To Everything?

The other day I sat in an airport in Raleigh, NC. It was 10 a.m. and I was exhausted.

I had gotten up early to pack. My best friend wanted to have 1 last chance to go to breakfast before I left.

It had been a whirlwind trip, visiting friends and my old stomping grounds where I lived, worked and went to school for nearly 8 years.

Lots of memories there.

Did I say I was tired?

I ordered a bagel – not because I was hungry, but because I was tired. Normally, I can resist this type of conditioning and find something better to do than eat, but at the airport, there weren’t too many options.
Continue reading

Stress Eating: 3 Ways To Stop

Eating is all too often a rushed, mindless, automatic and mechanical hand-to-mouth activity.

We are in a sense, eating zombies!

Fortunately, we can be awakened and reprogrammed to actually start and stop eating when we are actually hungry.

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Emotional Eating Is Not The Problem!
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Let’s be honest – everyone engages in emotional eating at some time or another. That’s because the definition of emotional eating is eating any time that you are not hungry. Continue reading

Women Food and God on Oprah

Women, Food and God” will be featured on the Oprah show this week, with Geneen Roth, author of 7 books on compulsive eating. Geneen has always been masterful at describing her compulsive eating and compulsive dieting in artful detail. This book discusses the process of her retreat students, as well as the connection of spirituality and compulsive eating. Continue reading

Is The Stress Eating Battle Over?

On this month’s cover of  ‘O’ Magazine, there’s a bold declaration – “The battle is over…”

The ‘battle’ that Oprah is referring to is, of course, with her weight.

It’s always been curious to me that one of the most influential women in the world . . . with access to every resource . . . has not conquered the battle with weight. Continue reading