The 3 Winning Steps to Freeing Yourself from Emotional Eating - Forever
Are you still eating foods that you'd really rather not, or that don't support your health or weight loss goals? Or maybe you're eating raw but you're still overeating or eating "less than great" raw foods and are still not feeling totally happy about your eating habits?
As you may well know, for most people eating is generally ruled by the [i]emotions. Whether it is to feel happier, treated, loved, indulged, excited or sedated (and this is just the start), food is the most legal of addictive substances used to change your state, in your body, heart and mind.
If you're ready to move to a cleaner and lighter way of eating, free from foods and drinks that you know don't support you in the way you are ready to live, then read on for a coaching exercise that will enable you to move into this new peaceful and vibrant space with your eating and stay there.
Step 1: Awareness
The next time you go to eat something you know you don't really want to (or is not good for you) ask: "What am I looking for in this food?"
Example: You go to reach for some chocolate, ask this question and get the answer from yourself: "A treat. Indulgence. Love. Time out. Rewarding myself. It makes me feel better."
Step 2: Choose a Raw Alternative
I have found that for most people making a complete switch to a different way of doing things (especially with food) is a real challenge. For example, I could ask you to jump straight to Step 3 (which you are welcome to do), but know that this is difficult for most people to do right away, so know yourself well enough to know which of steps 2 and 3 is going to be most appropriate for you right now.
Step 2 is about taking the answers from Step 1 (for each food and drink that you'd rather not use unconstructively) and find a raw alternative. This may be as simple as swapping like for like, such as commercial chocolate for raw chocolate or shop bought bread for live sprouted wheat bread, and so on, but I encourage you also to take a look at those words you gave in step 1 for your "vice foods" and see if those needs will be met with the new food. If yes, then great. If not, then ask yourself for each need listed, "What raw food will meet this need in me or give me the state change or texture I seek?" and then add it to your menu.
Example: Say one of the foods you listed for Step 1 was "hot buttered toast" and your answer to "What am I looking for in this food?" was: "Warmth. Yumminess. Dripping butter sensation in my mouth. Crunchiness. Being loved. Times with mum." You would need to take a look at each need in turn to find potentially a RANGE of foods that would meet these same needs OR create/find a new raw recipe that would tick all the boxes in one. Yes, this may occasionally be tricky, but if you're keen to kick the habit then you've gotta do what you've gotta do!
Step 3: Ditch the Food
No this doesn't mean don't eat! It means when you realise you're about to go eating for non-hunger reasons and you're thinking about that vice food, rather than eat something else to replace it, you can do something incredibly powerful that is far more useful than Step 2, ultimately, and that's to DO SOMETHING ELSE.
It's no secret that over-eating on raw food can sometimes feel just as bad as over-eating on cooked food - it depends what it is, but purely on an emotional level, if you're looking to stop using food as an emotional band aid, then sooner or later this step has to happen.
How to do it? Simply take those words that are coming up over and over again from Step 1 and find or create a behaviour, ritual, habit or activity that fully meets that need or, even better, EXCEEDS it.
Example: We'll use the chocolate one from Step 1. This means we're looking for something or things that feel like:
"A treat. Indulgence. Love. Time out. Rewarding myself. It makes me feel better."
So you'd start by asking, "Is there ONE single activity or thing I could do that would tick all these boxes for me AND make me feel way better on all levels than eating chocolate?"
(NB: You have to want to find out the answer before you ask this question!)
NB ALSO: Your answer will be entirely personal as your likes and someone else's may be very different, and also your associations with chocolate.
For me, my answer to this would be spending 40 minutes reading a magazine undisturbed with a blanket or duvet over me just totally vegging out with no demands on me or my time. Your answer might be "Going for a long walk by the river with my partner." It really could be anything. What you need to do is make a list of these alternative NON-EDIBLE choices and be fully prepared and excited to start doing them instead of munching your way to nirvana (which we know is a total myth anyway, right?).
If you find that you can't think of one single thing that covers all the bases, that's fine. Just create a list of 2 or 3 activities that can take care of them when combined. Having said that, I really do think there's always going to be a way if you think long enough and creatively enough to find one thing you can do that can take care of everything.
How to Pull it All Together
I recommend that you create yourself a chart or spreadsheet on your computer in order to record this information. You'd start with a column marked "Vice Food/ Drink". The second column would contain all the words that sum up "The Promise" of that food or drink to you. The third column would be "Healthy Food Alternatives" (as per Step 2) and the fourth column would be the activity or whatever it is you chose in Step 3.
Your goal is to have listed all the trigger/ vice foods and drinks that you've been eating or you want to eat that you're ready to let go of/replace, and to have "nailed" all the words that each of those things means to you.
When you're done you can choose to move to Step 2 and complete that or skip straight to Step 3 and replace eating with doing or being.
As you can appreciate, this may take some time, both in terms of becoming aware of how many foods and drinks you rely on to feed you emotionally and sensually and also to come up with the replacement items or activities. However, I think realistically you could have this nailed in 7-14 days depending on how much attention you give to it and how serious you are.
Step 1 in and of itself can be tremendously powerful, but when you take action on Steps 2 and 3 and make those changes, the long term benefits on every level are going to be absolutely phenomenal![/size]
[size=7]© 2009 Karen Knowler
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