Which causes you to consume more calories—physical hunger and physical hunger pangs or stress, restlessness, boredom, anxiety, excitement, a need to celebrate, a desire for comfort and other emotional triggers?
When WAS the last time you ate because you were physically famished? When was the last time you ate that you weren’t?
Emotional eating is a major part of most women’s lives. We’re taught to use food for so many things in addition to fuel. Diets mess with our relationship with food and add so many “shoulds” to the equation that many chronic dieters hardly know if they are hungry or not. They are conditioned to judge their “fullness” by calorie counts, the clock, fat grams, carbs, and other external cues that are not hunger.
To make peace with food and break free from emotional eating, it’s essential to identify the root cause of your hunger—the feelings or needs that trigger overeating. Programs like my Emotional Eating Toolbox™ show you how to identify what you are really hungry for and how to start using tools and strategies that address your needs and emotions in ways that food never will. That’s critical, but there is also another piece.
Taking control of overeating and making peace with food also means making peace with your physical hunger.
Hunger isn’t a negative thing. It’s not something to deny (like diets may tell you to do). It’s a signal that helps you take care of yourself. Honoring your hungers and cravings with respect is an important aspect of self-care.
That doesn’t mean you always eat everything your impulsive brain tells you that you want. You also don’t impulsively gratify all your emotional hungers or desires. But it’s important to acknowledge them.
That means learning to really listen to yourself.
It means learning how to understand your hunger and what it is telling you about what you need.
It means taking this information and making choices that are in your best interest (and that include compassion and respect).
A woman who is at peace with food feeds herself in high-quality ways (and I’m talking about feeding her spirit and her soul as well as her stomach).
She also allows herself to savor the food and the experiences that she takes in. Eating doesn’t trigger guilt or self-loathing and responding to her hunger isn’t something she does in secret.
- How do you decide when you are hungry?
- Where do you feel hunger in your body?
- On a hunger scale of 1 (ravenous) to 10 (stuffed to the gills), how hungry do you allow yourself to become before you feed yourself? How full do you fill yourself when you do eat?
- When you determine that you are hungry, how do you decide what to eat?
- How do you tell the difference between physical and emotional hunger?
If your Inner Champion was running the show and helping you live your BEST version of your life, how would you be responding to your physical and emotional cravings? Would it be different?
If you don’t know all the answers to these questions, don’t panic. Many emotional eaters don’t. Knowing what you don’t know is an important step to making a change.
Asking questions like I’ve just asked you will help you take control of your relationship with food in new ways and start creating strategies that work for you.