10 Lessons Learned On Overcoming Emotional Eating
Thirty years is a long time. It’s a long time to live. It’s a long time to learn. And it’s certainly a loooong time to be living with the nightmare we so delicately call “emotional eating”.
Recently I sat down and really thought about what I have learned? Where has this journey taken me? And how can I use that insight to move myself (and you) forward? To be honest, the lessons are too many to count. Mainly because I’ve had to repeat most of them MANY times over. But ultimately, it comes down to ten biggies.
Want to know the 10 biggest lessons I learned from thirty years of emotional eating?
Here we go!…
1. IF IT MATTERS TO YOU, STICK WITH IT
Nobody else is going to push you. If you have a desire to do something, be something, overcome something, then YOU are the only person who can make it happen. Deciding that you want to reach your natural body weight is great, until you realise that means you will no longer be eating ALL the choc chip ice cream ALL the time. You will never see it through if you don’t really believe you’re even worth the effort.
If you don’t want to stumble to bed each night in a sugar haze or quit answering the booty call from your refrigerator at 11pm each night, YOU need to make it happen. Easier said than done? Absolutely. But part of the process is recognising when you need help and deciding that you’re worth it. Support will always appear when you’re ready to step into it.
2. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT (because it probably does)
If you’re waiting for your magical cheer squad to appear and ra-ra dance you all the way to the finish line, then wake up princess… that is not a thing.
We all have our moments of fear and doubt. It’s a natural part of the human experience. What’s NOT natural is setting up camp and living there. Nobody expects you to feel super enthused about the journey from dawn till dusk, but knowing that the feelings of doubt are no different to the feelings of enthusiasm is actually very reassuring. Why? Because NO feelings, no matter how wild and wooly, last forever. As long as you keep your vision of the life you want squarely in front of you, you WILL make it.
3. EMOTIONAL EATING IS REAL
I spoke about this with the fabulous Lorna Jane Clarkson a couple of years ago and we agree; emotional eating is a HUGE issue and it isn’t going anywhere in a hurry.
Does that mean there’s no hope? No, of course not. I searched long and hard for the keys to success. I Googled and cried in despair. I attended seminars and cried in despair. I dieted, read books, dieted, did courses, dieted, has lipo (and still needed to diet) until FINALLY I decided there HAD TO BE AN EASIER WAY. Admitting that you can’t do it alone is the hardest part. After that, it’s as easy as rolling an M&M down hill.
There are many paths to lead you home. Keep searching until you find what works for you.
4. SUGAR ADDICTION IS REAL
Sugar has been both my best friend and simultaneously, the Darth Vader of my eating universe. As a busy woman, I know what it’s like to crave a sweet reward at the end of a long day. It’s almost unavoidable. Our hormones are constantly plotting against us. Cravings arise and suddenly, that chocolate cake that was meant for the children is devoured in a frenzy of frosting and crumbs.
Refined sugars trigger the same response in the brain as cocaine; so it’s hardly surprising that we find it hard to kick that sweet, sweet tooshie to the curb.
I used to try to “white knuckle” my way through a sugar craving, but it never ended well. I was the Houdini of chocolate consumption. Now you see it. Now you don’t.These days, I like to answer the call from my sweet tooth with a little more grace and dignity. Check out my Bounty Bites or Healthy Banana Bread for some sweet snack inspo.
5. SELF LOVE IS THE NEW BLACK
And now for the tough love… If YOU don’t think you’re worth taking care of, why would anyone else? Including your taste buds. There. I said it.
You may not like it, you may not even agree with it, but it’s the truth. Until you believe that you are the most precious being to walk the earth, until you really cherish yourself, until you simply decide that self care, self belief and self perseverance ranks higher on your priority list than watching Game of Thrones with nachos in each hand, you will never overcome emotional eating.
6. DEPRIVATION IS DULL
If you want to guarantee you’ll end up bingeing, make sure you cut your favourite foods OUT OF your diet. BUT… If you want to stop the diet/binge cycle, tell yourself you can absolutely eat anything you want to, but first, bring some new and healthy options INTO your diet.
There really is zero need to eliminate the foods you love and enjoy. If you want some chocolate, eat it. If you want some pizza, go for it. But at the same time, introduce so many fabulous new options to your repertoire that the joy of feeling good, energetic, light and free will become more alluring than licking the grease from the bottom of the pizza box. I love this Quinoa Pumpkin Salad with black beans or Green Smoothie Bowl.
7. MOVEMENT MATTERS BUT DON’T TRY TO BE AN ATHLETE
Movement is important, but you don’t need to be an athlete (unless you are an athlete, in which case kudos to you). If you’re waiting for Tinkerbell to fly into your lounge room, switch off the TV and shake the remote out of your hand, then I’m sorry to shatter your dreams, but it isn’t going to happen! Just do something… ANYTHING. Every little bit of movement counts towards building your self belief muscle.
8. EAT YOUR SOUL FOOD
I spent the better part of my life working and stressing. And if I wasn’t working or stressing, I was stressing over why I wasn’t working! Your soul needs food too. What does that look like? Well, for me it looked like walks on the beach, time in nature, coffee with friends, weekends with family, sleeping, resting and binge watching old episodes of Sex and the City (better than a donut binge, right?)
If your soul is hungry and you try to feed it with food, you will end up with two things… frustration and a stomach ache. Check your emotional menu. What kind of hunger are you trying to feed?
9. SHARING IS CARING
When it comes to progressing your emotional eating journey, I have found that sharing is the secret sauce to success. If you’re having a ARRGGHH! day, tell a soul sister you can trust. Likewise, when you find something that works for you, share it. Tell a friend. Tweet it out! The information you have could be the exact thing someone else has spent many a choc-binge, tear filled night searching for!
10. UP’S, DOWN’S AND TRIP UP’S ARE NORMAL
Anytime you are struggling, it’s because you have not made a firm decision as to what matters MOST to you. When your mind is split in several directions, your behaviour will inevitably become erratic, but don’t give up. If it seems like everyone around you has lost the faith, it’s up to you to keep the torch burning. All you ever needed to do is to stop trying to get it all so darn perfect that you miss the joy of the journey.
Sending you chocolate coated luuurve
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