This post was inspired by the ladies from ‘Up For a Chat’ a podcast about health with 3 of Australia’s leading wellness women (Cyndi O’Meara, Carren Smith and Kim Morrison). Get on it, if you want to keep up to date with health and living an abundant life in all aspects of your being.
Emotional eating is a concept that has taken me a long time to transform into one that is useful to me. It’s at times of vulnerability that we often turn for comfort, often through food. Chocolate, ice-cream, lollies, sugary foods, chips and alcohol are often the first things we turn to.
Everything we eat directly effects the person we become. Food is the foundation- the very building blocks for every cellular function our bodies exert. The body is a machine, the fuel we give it determines how we operate.
The relationship we have with food is a complex one. Going all the way back to the womb, your body started consuming food. Childhood is also the main place where we start forming emotional connections with certain kinds of foods. Think Tiny Teddies, or Sunday roast meals, juice boxes, sultanas. Did any of these things conjure up memories from years passed?
Sometimes we forget that these foods aren’t actually comforting to our body. The tastebuds may enjoy a brief moment of pleasure from salt, fats and sugar, even our brains go crazy for it! But consuming foods high in refined sugar, alcohol, unhealthy fats, causes inflammatory responses in our system and does nothing to make us feel better.
The mind is attached to the brain, and the brain is attached to the gut. Research is proving more and more that our stomach and brain are directly linked. Feeding the healthy bacteria in your gut improves brain function. BUT, when we try and deal with our emotions with unhealthy foods, it is a terrible cycle that will feed your brain unhealthy responses.
So, what needs to change in order to stop eating for comfort?
Step 1: THINK.
Eating to comfort yourself is a learned response. Somewhere along the line, we become attached to certain foods in response to specific emotions. Before you reach for the ice-cream, think about how you feel. What triggered you to reach for food? Are you sad, frustrated, angry?
Step 2: Deal with the emotion. Start viewing food for it’s nourishment, not comfort.
Rather than eating food to deal with your emotion, consciously delve into how you feel. Ask yourself why you feel this way? Ask yourself what you can do to feel differently?
Eat foods that build you up, strengthening you from the inside, out.
Step 3: Remind yourself that your attachment does not serve you!
Eat foods that care for your body, whole foods that empower you to undertake your daily tasks. A good place to start is replacing unhealthy fats with good ones, refined sugar for it’s natural counterpart sweeteners. Look to nature to satisfy your body’s needs. Try my Gooey, Fudgey Peanut Butter (N)icecream.
Step 4: Create a new habit.
Instead of ice-cream, go for a walk, take a bath or do something you love. Do something that allows your mind to repair itself. Nurture your mind and your body. Don’t let your emotions rule you.
Step 5: There is always a way to rebuild yourself.
If you fall off the band wagon and eat something that doesn’t nourish you… you have not failed. Learn to be with your emotions and learn to love and nourish your body with both your emotions and food.