By Gillian B
During times of stress, people either completely lose their appetite or they become fixated on it and can’t stop. Binge eating under stress is a habit that so many of us have and don’t acknowledge! Emotional eating will sneak up in times of stress and leave people feeling guilty and regretful.
As humans, we do whatever we can to avoid pain. Emotional eating is another way of self-medicating or self-soothing to find relief. Eating and overeating ‘comfort foods’ has a numbing effect on the feelings that started the cycle in the first place. Shifting the energy from your mind to your digestion, this habit creates a false and very temporary sense of bliss.(2)
The problem with emotional eating or other forms of self-soothing is that they are a Band-Aid approach. It fills the emotional and physical void for a period of time and allows us to escape our pain, but it usually leads to a negative cycle of binging and guilt. (2)
In his game-changing book Clean Gut, Alejandro Junger explains if you understand the cycle of emotional eating, how it works and what you can do when you recognize it in your life, you turn the cycle that spirals downward on its head, sending the spiral upwards. The key to letting go of this old habit is to look into the past and try to understand its roots as well as identify triggers that provoke it. (2)
How do you break the habit of binge eating in response to emotional triggers?
1) Breathe and become aware of this behavior.
2) Identify situations in your past that have triggered you.
3) Be aware of potential situations and triggers, you want to be able to see them coming so that you have an opportunity to react differently.
4) With practice, in the heat of the moment, there will be a momentary gap from which you can choose a new reaction. Instead of hiding under the blankets with a bucket of Ben and Jerry’s, choose to call a friend, go for a walk in nature, play with your dog or go to a support group!
As the video says, strive for progress with your emotional eating habits instead of perfection. You are already well on your way to freedom around food!
Watch this amazing interview with my friend, mentor and the author of Happy Belly, Nadya Andreeva and her guest, Kathryn Stefans. Be sure to try the grounding technique they discuss!