If you've spent any time dieting or watching your weight, you know that handling your hunger is probably the toughest challenge you face. It's those cravings that get hold of you that will get you every time.
You Haven't Failed at Dieting, Dieting Has Failed You
Many weight loss experts now encourage people to stop dieting as that is not the way to achieve and maintain one’s desired weight. This is because emotional eating, or eating to soothe your feelings, results in diet failure. A University of California Los Angeles study of 17,000 dieters, most of them women, found that virtually all of them relapsed because of emotional eating. As psychologist Carol Solomon explains, “It’s not surprising that we turn to food when we feel stressed, depressed and anxious or just about anything… Women are much more susceptible to emotional eating than men, primarily because we are taught to stuff our feelings.”
Question Your Limiting Beliefs
Research in the field of mind/body medicine demonstrates that there is a powerful connection between your thoughts and your body. In order for you to break the cycle of emotional eating and then feeling badly about yourself, you’ll have to question the many limiting rules and thoughts that drive your everyday behaviors.
To reclaim your power over food, you must first give yourself permission to eat it. Become empowered by giving voice to what you really want and assert yourself more. This will lead to you becoming a picky eater. When you choose to only eat the very best you will notice that your desire to seek out food when you are not hungry will subside.
Tips to Control Emotional Eating
Here are some tips to help you control your emotional eating, make peace with food and be friends with your body.
1 Eat foods you love.
Barring any medical restrictions, honor your food preferences. If you're a gal who loves pasta then mangia. If chocolate turns you on, go for it. Start to carry it around in your bag. Do things that will reinforce the message to your brain that food is safe and you can be trusted around it. Eat only when you are hungry and set an intention to stop before you get too full. When you overdo it, forgive yourself and move on.
2 Eat mindfully more often.
Don't assume you know what food really tastes like. When you continually deprive yourself of foods you crave, it makes you want them more. That’s why you may end up binging on them and feel unable to savor them. When you are caught up in a cycle of binging, your brain is seeking to recreate the feelings that those foods have stirred up in your body, not the food itself. By slowing down and recognizing that you can eat those goodies anytime you want, you unplug that desperate urge to have them.
3 Be gentle with yourself.
If sarcasm, criticism and meanness are the only ways that you know to speak to yourself, it is time for a change. Once you take determined action to cope with your stress, you’ll be more relaxed and can eliminate the distractions in your life that are making you feel powerless. Having this expanded sense of inner peace will give you an ability to be more compassionate, respectful, gentle and loving with yourself.
4 Get support: Reach out for help and find support.
Surround yourself with other women also seeking to love and accept their bodies right now.
When you recognize that you deserve to be treated well, you satisfy your ‘hungry heart’ from the inside out. When you feel fulfilled, your issues around food effortlessly will fall into place.
Andrea Amador is The Juicy Woman. She is a body image/self esteem expert, professional certified empowerment coach and master practitioner of neuro linguistic programming who creates customized confidence building and stress relief programs for groups of women and girls. As a curvy and confident plus size gal and a woman who has had her share of adversity, Andrea Amador blends professional training and raw life experience which gives her the edge in helping women who struggle with body image and/or abuse issues. For more Juicy Woman goodies and information about her upcoming book, visit TheJuicyWoman.com or contact 425-1661.