Turning to food for comfort — either consciously or unconsciously — when stressed, anxious, bored, or upset is a long-standing habit that goes back to our very beginnings. Because what were we given when we cried as babies? Milk, from either a bottle or breast.
There are four steps to help banish emotional eating for good and each week for four weeks Motivation Weight Management is looking into each in detail.
Week one was how to check in with your emotions, week two was how to engage the stop button.
This week we look into:
3 ) Dip into the brain – what is it telling you?
Now that you have had a bit of space and time, the next step is to start looking at our distorted thoughts. These are thoughts that have perhaps become a bit too negative, unrealistic, or self-critical. We believe our thoughts to be fact, when they are far from it.
What message are you ‘playing’ to yourself with your thoughts – think of it as a CD or a podcast. Is it on a negative loop? Are your thoughts very harsh (to yourself and/or others )? Are they realistic? Or do you tend to get into black and white/all or nothing thinking? Are you imagining the worst? Are you your own worst critic? Do you give yourself permission to make mistakes?
What is most exciting in this field of study is that psychologists know that we have the power to change our own emotions. We do this by changing the thoughts we are having. The way we can do this is by analysing our thought process prior to the emotion – and working on that to change our thoughts to more positive ones, in the hope of a more positive outcome.
Ask yourself, ’what is a more positive, realistic, and less critical thought I could have about this?’ ‘How could I show more compassion and kindness (often to myself )?' ‘What would be a more helpful way of looking at this?’ Or, ‘What would my friend/partner say to me about this situation?'
This process of challenging your own thoughts takes practice, but it can be learned over time. The results can be life-changing. Think of your brain as being a muscle – you can train your muscles to become fit and to adapt to new exercises which become easy and require less effort – the key ingredient is practice.
For information on how to deal with emotional eating visit www.motivation.ie or call your local clinic today on 091 480160