Throughout our lives, we consciously and unconsciously connect feelings with food. Therefore, it’s so important to think about how and why we eat, rather than just what we eat.
Emotional eating is when we use food to comfort ourselves or repress negative emotions.
How many of you reach for chocolate, pastries, crisps, or a take away when you are feeling down or stressed? Often we do this even if we are not hungry.
When we experience big emotions such as stress, anxiety, fear or panic, our bodies go into the fight-or-flight response. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is released and triggers a series of events in our bodies, including an increase in blood pressure, pulse rate, breathing rate, and blood flow to the muscles.
Back when we had to run away from a predator, this worked, but now it just leaves us in a state of high stress.
The cortisol in our bodies can result in an increased appetite and desire to eat. This is because our bodies think we need the fuel. This need to gain energy quickly results in us turning to high fat or sugar foods.
It’s worth noting that most of these kinds of foods are designed with this in mind; to give you that quick boost of pleasure. That’s why we crave them.
There is no one picture of good health. It comes in many shapes and sizes, but I think we can all agree that continually comforting ourselves in this way will not be good for our weight or physical and mental health.
However, there is a solution. I work with clients teaching them intuitive eating and overcoming unhealthy eating habits. Helping clients redefine their relationship with food.
I am including emotional eating in my offers after seeing many clients experience this. Issues are often a complex and sensitive topic for many. So it’s common to isolate and suffer in silence.
It’s important to note that emotional eating and eating disorders are two different things. When you work with me, we look at the roots of your emotional eating, including contributing factors like stress, body image and cultural issues. We also go to work on cravings and how to work with them.
There is a place for everything in your diet
If your goal is to heal your relationship with food, the first thing you have to understand is no food is ‘bad’ food. Also, food does not exist solely to power our bodies.
There is a place for everything in our diet, as long as there are no allergies or medical issues present. This means feeling comfortable eating a wide variety of foods and experimenting with new foods.
Some foods taste good, some foods simply make us happy – these are valid enough reasons to eat those foods. In fact, getting pleasure from our foods allows us to associate positive feelings to our experiences with food, which helps us to create a healthy relationship with food in general.
What does dieting mean to you?
For most people, dieting means restricting, cutting back, abstaining, and sacrificing. It means purging your pantry of all the foods you love, and replacing them with less flavourful, fulfilling, or happy-making foods.
It could mean passing on dessert – not even allowing yourself a bite – because you’re afraid you’ll lose control or settling for a glass of water, when what you really want is a glass of lemonade.
The result is usually slapping yourself on the wrist when you ‘break’ your diet rules.
What’s missing is compassion.
When you’re dieting, you’re typically in a state of high alert, paying close attention to what foods you come across, and whether those foods are ‘safe’ or ‘dangerous’ to be around.
In order to break your unhealthy food habits, you need to shift from strict dieting to relaxed eating.
I have seen such great results in the clients I have worked with and believe anyone can break this pattern of emotional eating.
I love what I do and am passionate about helping people with their health journey, which includes creating a healthy relationship with food.
If you’re ready to take back the control and have the freedom to eat what you want, when you want, then get in touch.