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I think all of us will agree that stress makes people eat. Or grief. Or celebration. These emotions are fairly easy to identify and associate with overeating.
We're all emotional eaters. Some more than others but we all eat emotionally.
Emotional eating is eating to change the way we feel. Many of us eat when we feel stressed or happy or sad.
When we're feeling like nothing but a big tangled ball of emotions after a long day / week, and we haven't yet pinpointed what we're feeling, or why, food seems like an easy way out.
And while food can certainly provide us an escape (albeit a temporary one), sitting with what feels like a big ball of feelings (as opposed to suppressing it with food) can help us sort through things so we can really identify what's going on.
When there's a lot going on, the key is to sorta act like Vanilla Ice (wow, never thought I'd write that) and instead of, "Stopping, collaborating and listening" we want to slow down, look, listen and feel.
Because if we don't, this overwhelming feeling can create so much noise in our head from all of the stuff that is going on in our lives, that the idea of going into what I call a 'food trance' seems so appealing. (You know, where you just eat and eat so you don't have to think and think.)
When we're tempted to overeat because we feel overwhelmed (and perhaps that's what you're feeling), it's helpful that we:
Be really S P E C I F I C about what our big tangled up ball of emotions actually consists of. Imagine it as a giant rubber band ball (remember those things?) and one by one we want to take off one rubber band at a time.
One by one we're getting specific and identifying what our ambiguous feelings actually consist of. Essentially, we're figuring out EXACTLY what is on our mind...
I'm stressed because of A...
I'm overwhelmed because of B...
I have to get X, Y and Z done by the end of the week...
I have to reply to so and so...
I have to RSVP to X.
Get it all out there. All of it!
Then, the real magic happens when we come up with ways to deal with each "rubber band". Having a plan for each item that is renting space in our head, and knowing exactly what each "rubber band" is, is way more comfortable than feeling like a giant ball of emotions because we have a "million" things on our mind, without any plan.
While food gives us momentary escape (and this is why our short term, irrational mind is so drawn to this), it blocks us from reaching a long-term solution.
When we work to understand exactly what we're feeling and what is on our mind, life is a little (or a lot) more relaxing, enjoyable and manageable because we're not as "stressed" or "overwhelmed". When it comes down to it, we're usually stressed and overwhelmed because of a few things. Pinpointing what they are makes a big difference in how we feel, and how we feel makes a big difference in how we eat.
Like this post? You’ll love our program! This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to emotional eating. Helping our clients overcome emotional eating is a big part of what we do.
Notice how psychological this post is? This is one of the reasons why MBT works so well. This is why so many “diets” out there fail. They don’t address the psychology of weight loss. For the most part, it's not a question of knowing what to do!
It's a question of actually doing it. The answer to that is all in your psychology. Of course, we'll tell you exactly what to do in order to reach your goals. But we'll make sure you actually do it day in and day out. That's the key. It's one of the reasons why we get the results we do. Learn more about our proven program here.
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