On our earlier post, I discussed how to know if you are an emotional eater, and what were the roots of becoming one.

I also discussed the fact that emotional eating was a choice, one that you most likely learned at a very young age.

Also, I talked about the association with feelings and emotional eating. There are a couple of things I want you to be aware when it comes to this relationship. This association makes you believe that you are not allowed to have unpleasant emotions, therefore you should eat to feel better and get rid of the unpleasant or negative emotion.

Something critical and powerful here is that if you can understand that this behavior is a choice you have the power to control it or modify it. In other words, instead of using emotional eating as a way of coping with the unpleasant emotion you can replace it with a new or different behavior.

So basically, it is in your hands to continue the emotional eating or not. You are the one in charge.

Does that make sense to you?

The fact about emotional eating is that it’s self-destructive, it is not healthy, and it can not only cause you physical harm if you keep eating the unhealthy stuff, but it can also affect you emotionally and lower your self-esteem.  Why is that?  Because most of the times after the emotional eating we feel terrible, both physically and psychologically.

So it turns into a vicious cycle, you feel bad because of whatever circumstances are going on in your life, therefore, you overeat. Then you feel sorry for overeating.
And the cycle repeats…

Let’s get some basic facts here: It’s perfectly acceptable to have negative emotions as well as positive ones, what you don’t want to do is to stay stuck in the negative emotions.

You can control your feelings, therefore, you can control your thinking, and your thinking controls your behavior. So you are the one in control of how you are going to act towards your present circumstances.

Think about this for a second; your emotions are transitory, they will pass. Your emotions are just a way of you to see the discordance between who you are deep inside and what’s happening in the outside world, so you don’t need to act in a self-destructive way every time you are feeling a negative emotion. Remember; this too should pass…

You have the ability to change the emotional eating, by not using food as a way of comfort but instead, see food as nutrition. Your stomach is not hungry, your heart and your soul are, and you can’t fill this feeling of emptiness with food. That feeling is not going to go away for good by using food as a way of satisfaction.

Instead, make the better choice, and take care of yourself in the right way. Practice self-love, self-care, and self-respect. Honor and value yourself, and respect the body that was given to you move around and transport yourself.

You might be thinking by now, well all that sounds splendid, but that doesn’t help me when I’m going through the drama or the binge storm.

I’m going to give you three strategies that work for me:
1. Instead of going for the food when you are experiencing an unpleasant emotion, do something else like calling a friend you enjoy talking with, go for a stroll, exercise, drink water. Do anything you can to move away from the tasty, unhealthy snacks or drinks.

2. Learn how to deal better with your emotions, if that means that you need to seek professional help then do that. But the most important thing you can do is to acknowledge the feelings and to know that they will pass if you let them.

3. If you still went for the food and are in the middle of eating it, and still want to stop, try to associate it with something else. Think of the terrible abdominal pain you are going to have after you eat, or how bloated you are going to feel, or you might even associate it with something that you find really unappealing or disgusting, like vomit for example. The point here is to do whatever it takes to stay away from the unhealthy food and break the emotional eating cycle.

4. If you tried all the suggestions and still had an emotional eating feast, then please don’t beat yourself up. Put it behind you, and promise yourself to do better the next time around.

What can you do with emotional eating? I think by now you can have a better idea of how to handle it, and hopefully, you will apply some of these techniques and break the unhealthy pattern.

To a healthier you,

Dr. Alfonso

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