By Traci Gerckens, M.A.
Yes, I know how much this totally sucks and that you’ve totally been in this exact situation before. You were probably thinking something like, “What is wrong with me? Will I be a complete train wreck around food forever? Why can’t I just be normal?” Ugh. The struggle is real ladies, I know.
So I put together this quickie little guide for you – something to get you started and on your way to ending emotional eating…like now.
Once you get clear on how to take incredible care of yourself – emotionally, physically, and spiritually – your body is going to naturally get to its ideal shape and size – one that is just perfect for your age, situation and lifestyle. For some people that may mean you’re going to lose thirty pounds, gain five, or stay the same. But regardless, if you stick around, you will feel the most beautiful, sexy, confident and in love with yourself than you have in your whole life.
Read on for my best tips to end emotional eating…like now!
1) EAT THE COOKIE LADIES!!!!
For the love of god you guys…legalize all foods. Put it on a pretty plate, sit down, chew it, taste it, savor it and really enjoy it! Call a truce and stop the food fight. Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. When you tell yourself that you “can’t” have this or you “shouldn’t” have that, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into seemingly uncontrollable cravings , and often binging. When you do finally cave in to your “forbidden” foods (and you will), you tend to eat with such intensity that it becomes “The Last Supper” mentality, usually followed up with a heaping dose of guilt and shame.
2) FORGIVE YOURSELF AND FIND OUT WHY (IN THAT MOMENT) THE COOKIE WAS CALLING YOU?
Whenever you want to eat when you are not physically hungry, you have an amazing opportunity to learn something about yourself. Never beat yourself up, but rather with compassion and love, ask yourself what it was that you really wanted? Were you bored, lonely, anxious, nervous, tired? It’s a wonderful opportunity to dig deep, get honest and learn something about yourself. If it’s emotional hunger you are feeling, no amount of food will ever satisfy you. There is always a reason for every choice we make. Find it.
3) WAKE UP AND PAY ATTENTION (TO YOUR FOOD AND YOUR LIFE)
I find it so ironic that we obsess about our food, our body and our weight all day and night, but when we actually eat we are totally oblivious to it! Maybe we think that if we eat really fast and if no one else was there, that it wouldn’t really count?? Slow down and pay attention. Don’t rush through your meals, avoid standing and make a ritual out of each meal. Take time to actually enjoy the food you are putting into your body. Stay tuned in to your feelings of hunger and fullness. And the same is true when we can’t stop obsessing about food when it isn’t a mealtime. Say for instance you’re in the middle of a wedding reception and trying to enjoy the company of good friends, but instead you find yourself obsessing about the candy station and ice cream bar rather than the conversation. It’s time to check in with yourself. When you stay aware and pay attention you will notice what you’re doing and be able to be present. Enjoy the friends and the celebration- the M&M’s aren’t going anywhere.
4) TAKE GOOD CARE
Are you even on your own priority list? Not only do you need to be, but you need to be in the #1 slot! Get up, get dressed, and take pride in your appearance…right now! It’s so much easier to stop the obsession with food and our bodies when we feel good about ourselves and honor our bodies right now, the one you live in today! Treat it with respect, love it, be kind to it, give it your attention, make it beautiful, dress it up, get it massages and manicures, keep it smelling pretty and moisturized…own it! If you don’t love it and treat it like gold right now, no matter what size it is, than no one else will want to either! Do you set aside time for yourself daily? You know, to refuel and recharge? Take a walk, read a book, join that class? It’s a must. Once you start to take care of yourself and give yourself what you need, you will be much more available to give to others as well. You must believe you are worthy of your own attention first. Loving your body now, and wanting to be healthy and fit, do not have to be mutually exclusive.
Do something physical. This does not have to mean working out in a gym for 2 hours a day until you drop. Just move. Use exercise as another way to develop a better relationship with yourself. Use it to connect to your body and feel. You are a living, breathing being. Think of exercise and movement as a way to give to yourself, as opposed to what you will take from it. Start giving yourself the gift of exercise without expecting anything in return. When you do, you are showing yourself that you matter. Move. Dance. Walk. Feel.
6) TAKE BACK YOUR POWER
Show food and your body who’s the boss! Stop looking back and turn your head around. Move forward and grab the reins over your food, your body and your choices. Most emotional eating is done out of stress and boredom, or because something in our lives is just not right and trying desperately to get our attention. Your life can be fabulous. YOU are fabulous! But when you don’t know that, or at least initially “act” as such, it will be extremely challenging for the food to release its hold over you. The good news is it’s never too late and you have all the tools inside of you to take your power back. Today.
These are some serious and juicy tidbits to digest! I know they are not the easiest concepts to swallow and put in to practice. But ask yourself this, “Has what you have done so far worked?” No. I didn’t think so and I know this from my own personal experience and struggle. Diets don’t work. If they did why would you need so many of them?
For permanent change to occur you need a mind-bending, reality-altering, thinking-pattern shift. If you’ve been struggling with your weight, your body image and with food in general (for God knows how long), it might just be your time to stop. Do something different – dig deep and finally end the struggle. Call a truce and lay down your weapons.
Traci Gerckens is a Master Certified Life Coach and Emotional Eating Expert.
She teaches smart, savvy, sophisticated women how to stop dieting and manage their already very wise mind. Her mission is to teach women all over the world how to master their mind, change the way they think, so they can begin to live more and therefore eat less, allowing them to lose the excess weight naturally and permanently without ever dieting again.
She is the CEO & Founder of Move Your Life, LLC and creator of the “Get Out Of Diet Jail” Program.