Avoiding Emotional Eating

Avoiding Emotional Eating

Did you know we all have something in common with a glass of wine? When a glass of wine is full and you tap it with a knife (or drumstick!), the sound it makes is low and soft. When it’s empty, the vibration is higher and harder. Our bodies are very similar – if our stomachs are empty, whatever emotional vibration we’re feeling gets amplified and felt more strongly throughout our body. If you’re an emotional eater, you can probably relate – hangry, anyone?!? This is why so many of us turn to food when we feel something we don’t want to feel. Not only do we satisfy our survival urge and get a feel-good dopamine hit, but we dull whatever emotional vibration is going on in our bodies by filling our stomachs.

So what can we do about this? Awareness is the first step and is sometimes all we need. Just noticing the empty stomach phenomenon can help you maintain perspective on an emotional issue. And if you truly need food, get some! But if you realize you’re eating not because you’re hungry but because you’re upset, there are things you can do to avoid weight gain:

• Try drinking some water. Just like the wine glass, this has the effect of filling your stomach so the vibration isn’t as strong.

• Think about why you feel upset. Get really specific with describing the emotion you’re feeling in just one word – anxious, frustrated, impatient, etc. Remember that these emotions are part of life and are normal. Allow yourself to just feel the emotion by saying to yourself “I’m feeling impatient, and that’s OK”.

• Ask yourself if the food you’re wanting will actually help solve the problem that’s upsetting you. This can sometimes diffuse the strength of the urge you’re feeling to eat. In the heat of the moment, our primitive brains will do anything to get a hit of dopamine. But by asking the question, your prefrontal cortex will likely take over and realize that the food won’t solve the problem and can actually bring additional upset.

The more you can slow your thought process down and practice these tactics, the less likely you will be to respond to emotional vibrations with food. It’s a matter of being aware of the vibration and training your brain how to respond to it. Sounds good to me!

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