Do you turn to food when you are feeling down, depressed or just a little "blah"? Well, you are not alone.
I used to run to the kitchen every time I got a sinking feeling in my heart or felt any kind of emotional or mental pain. I knew that the food would take me out of that "blah" depressed state and would lift my mood temporarily... or sometimes I wouldn't even be that aware of it... one minute feeling "blah", the next minute I'm sitting on the couch staring down at an empty container of Ben and Jerry's and I have no idea how it even happened... But then I would have to deal with the intense cravings, the sugar crash and the guilt over what I had done.
I felt hopeless and upset every time I did it but I kept doing it anyway. And every time I did it, I just felt more and more hopeless that I would ever be a healthy woman or that I would ever lose the weight that I had been talking about losing for years.
Sound at all familiar? Let me share a secret with you... I discovered a way to pull myself out of that destructive habit and now, when I feel down or depressed, the last thing I think about is food. Here's how I did it:
- Discover what makes you happy. What do you enjoy doing so much that when you do it, it's as though time has stopped because you are so "lost" in the activity and you get that blissful feeling of happiness and comfort filling you up on the inside? Do you like singing? Do you like to paint or garden? Do you love yoga or meditation? Do you enjoy journaling? Hiking?... Playing with your kids?... Wrestling with your lover?... Dancing around your living room? Figure out what activities you really love to do BEFORE you ever start to feel crummy.
Spending just a little time to figure this out will pay off BIG time, not only to help you break free from the grips of emotional eating, but also to give you a more fun and fulfilling life.
- Make it easy and accessible. Whatever activity (or activities) you figure out for yourself, make them available to you at a moment's notice. You never know when the urge to pig out is going to come up (or maybe you've begun to see patterns in when it happens - so you can be even more prepared)... So be ready!
As soon as you start to feel the sadness or depression coming on, remember that you have choice. There are other ways to feel good. And you've made it easy for yourself to choose the positive choice by setting it up beforehand and making it accessible.
- Get rid of the food temptation. It's going to be a lot harder to say "no" to fattening, unhealthy food if it is around you all the time. Clean out your cupboards and throw away all the food that you know is keeping you "stuck" in this emotional eating trap. The best time to do this is when you are full after eating a meal. The hungrier you are, the harder it will be to "let go" of the fattening food.
Not having the fattening, unhealthy food around will at least make it inconvenient for you to just fall into mindless eating - you will have to "go out" and get it. This extra step requires thinking and making a choice.
- Reward yourself every time you choose health. Now that you have created choices for yourself to lift your mood, reward yourself every time you make a positive choice. Take a nice long bubble bath. Write down in your journal how great you feel about yourself and the choices you are making... Or just take a quiet moment to give yourself gratitude and love. I like to just close my eyes and bring my hands together in front of my heart, sending a silent beam of love into my heart and thanking myself for being a person who cares about giving myself health. These "quiet moments" have become a really important part of my life and my relationship with myself. And you know what else? It has made it A LOT easier to choose positive habits over destructive emotional eating because I get SO MUCH out of getting the "excuse" to give myself love.
I used to be an emotional eater... Now I'm an emotional healer. Every time I feel down or depressed, I turn to choices that will heal me and take me to a higher level in my health and happiness. That's a much bigger "high" than any food has ever given me. There's no food "escape" that can even come close... And unlike a food rush that leaves you feeling even MORE depressed and guilty afterwards, these choices leave you with good feelings and health for a lifetime.
Pretty cool, huh? Try it for yourself and see how it works for you.
You deserve the BEST that this life has to offer for your body, mind and spirit. It all starts with how you treat yourself. Start giving yourself alternative choices to lift yourself up when you are feeling down, and you may find that you get "hooked" on the blissful feelings you get when you give yourself health and love. I'm sending you Love and healing light to surround you on your journey.
Andrea Albright is the author of "How To Lose Weight By Feeding And Nourishing Your Spirit." For more great tips, sign up for her FREE newsletter.