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I support people on their journey to wellness through nutrition and lifestyle coaching! I am passionate about teaching people how lifestyle choices can be fun, inspiring and positively affect all aspects of their lives. I love guiding people to wellness one meal at a time!! I am also a passionate mama, a yogi and I love to cook!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Overcoming Emotional Eating:

We are all guilty of it; eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, anxiety, boredom, sadness and loneliness. At the end of a long, hard day we want to ‘treat’ ourselves to something that makes us feel good, such as that nice big piece of chocolate cake or that huge bowl of your favourite pasta dish. You work hard today right?? Don’t you deserve it?? This type of eating and thinking can sabotage your weight-loss/health efforts. The problem is that emotional eating often leaves you feeling depressed and guilty which can result in a downward spiral. Emotional eating often leads to consuming too much food, especially high-calorie, sweet, salty and fatty foods. Many of us are taught as children to use food to comfort and soothe or reward good behaviour. The good news is that if you're prone to emotional eating, you can take steps to regain control of your eating habits and get back on track with your weight-loss goals. The first step is becoming aware of why you are emotional eating in the first place.

10 steps to overcome emotional eating
1. Identify the root cause of your craving. What emotion are you feeling at this time?? What is the food that you are craving going to do to help you with this emotion?? What was your relationship with food as a child?? What was your parent’s connection to food?? Start a journal to help get in touch with the emotions that are coming up for you. It is important to understand your connection to food. This will allow you to take control and make more conscious food choices.
"You cannot find your soul with your mind;
you must use your heart.
You must know what you are feeling.
If you don't know what you are feeling,
you will create unconsciously."
~ Gary Zukav ~
2. Take a ‘TIME OUT’!!! Take 10 minutes to just “BE” with no distractions.
a. Tell your family that you need to take a ten minute break.

b. Find a quite place in your house

c. Close your eyes.

d. Become aware of your breathing. When a thought enters your mind (which, by the way, it will)    gently remind yourself to go back to your breath

e. Do this for at least ten minutes. If an emotion comes up, allow it to express itself in whatever form it comes in. Avoid controlling what comes up for you. Allow everything to be as it is.

f. Be aware! How does your body feel now?? Are you still craving the food?
3. Find replacement behaviour. Go for a walk, yoga or the gym, take a hot bath, read a great book, paint a picture, play a board game with your family, etc.

4. Make a list of all the reasons healthy eating and weight loss will impact your life. What is most important to you?? Link healthy eating to your highest values in life. How will healthy eating help you to get closer to your most important goals in life? After you create your list put it somewhere where you can look at it daily to keep your mind focused.
"Every intention sets energy into motion whether you are conscious of it or not." ~ Gary Zukav ~

5. Get some support!!
a. Join a support group

b. Seek a qualified therapist and/or nutritionist

c. Purchase (or borrow from the library) motivational books, start a book club with some of your friends with the focus on these types of books.

d. Go to motivational seminars on nutrition, emotional /spiritual health, etc.

e. Call a good friend to talk when you feel a strong craving come on. 
6. Nourish your spirit in other ways! What do you LOVE to do?? Examples may include painting, photography, reading great books (fiction or non-fiction), gardening, pottery, journaling, writing poetry, etc. Find time each day to include something that nourishes your spirit. Start brainstorming on what that is for you!! Create a ‘LOVE LIST’ of all the things that you love to do and start doing them!!

7. EXERCISE at least 3-4 times per week. Everyone knows that exercise has many health benefits such as increasing your fitness level and helping you lose weight. One benefit of exercise that is often overlooked, however, is that exercise can improve your mood and give you a general feeling of well being. There is actually a hormonal reaction that happens in your body as a result of exercise. These ‘hormone-like’ structures are called endorphins! They make you feel good and can help reduce cravings.
8. Get rid of trigger foods. What foods do you crave most?? Cookies?? Chips?? Chocolate?? Avoid having these foods in the house. If it is not there you are less likely to be thinking of it and less likely to go out and get it. If your trigger foods are healthy choices such as nuts be sure to portion size them out ahead of time. Get the little snack Ziploc bags and put 10-12 nuts in each one. Grab it on your way out for a healthy snack that is in proper portion size.

9. Balance blood sugar. Many people think that they are weak by giving into their cravings however it may be a result of blood sugar imbalalances. When we eat high sugar foods or not enough protein and fats at our meals, blood sugar goes up rapidly; as a result your pancreas produces high amounts of the hormone insulin to bring blood sugar down quickly. This results in low blood sugar and increased cravings for sweet foods to bring blood sugar back up. It becomes a vicious cycle. When we eat lean proteins, healthy fats and switch to whole grains while reducing sugar we will receive a steady stream of energy from our foods to avoid low blood sugar and cravings for high carbohydrate foods.

10. Believe that you are fully capable of losing weight for good!! Create a positive affirmation that is in line with this belief. Even if you don’t believe it at first. Studies have shown that people can make themselves believe things that they currently do not by stating positive affirmations to themselves many times during the day until they have reached their goal and fully believe that they are capable. The opposite is true as well; if you don’t believe you are capable of reaching and sustaining your weight loss goals, YOU WILL MOST LIKELY END UP DOING SOMETHING TO SABATOGE YOURSELF!!
What you believe and what you say to yourself has a tremendous impact on what happens to you and what kind of life you’ll lead. You are the creator of your own destiny. You write the script of your life with every thought. The more self worth and love you have for yourself, the more prosperity and success you will achieve.
~Dr. John Demartini~

 Women Food and God, By: Geneen Roth

 The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness, By: Gary Zukav

 You Can Heal Your Life, By: Louise Hay

 A New Earth, By: Eckhart Tolle

 The Beck Diet Solution, By: Judith S. Beck Ph.D
 Loving What Is, By: Byron Katie

 The Breakthrough Experience, By: John Demartini

 Excuses Be Gone, By: Wayne Dyer
The bottom line, whether you weigh 340 lbs or 150 lbs, is that when you eat when you are not hungry, you are using food as a drug, grappling with boredom or illness or loss or grief or emptiness or loneliness or rejection. Food is only the middleman, the means to the end. Of altering your emotions. Of making yourself numb. Of creating a secondary problem when the original problem becomes too uncomfortable. Of dying slowly rather than coming to terms with your messy, and very, very short –even at a hundred years old- life. The means to these ends happens to be food, but it could be alcohol, it could be work, it could be sex, it could be cocaine.
~Geneen Roth~

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