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Emotional Eating – Breaking The Pattern

Emotional or comfort eating is a common issue.  It’s something I have to be careful of myself and the very reason I got into hypnotherapy in the first place.

Maybe you have decided you are going to lose some weight or eat healthily and you feel really motivated and determined.  Then you have a stressful day/experience and all of a sudden, ‘wham’ – it’s like you turn into the ‘incredible munch’.

Raiding the fridge, the cupboards, eating the contents of a small supermarket.  Which in turn leaves you feeling ashamed, guilty, disappointed and like you are a failure and will never be slimmer.  Not a good recipe of emotions for happiness.

For some people it’s not just stress that drives the over eating.  It can be anything – had a great day, let’s reward ourselves with food, had a bad day – let’s commiserate with food.

Or it may even be certain triggers such as coming home from work or celebrating the kids have gone to bed or filling up with fuel at the petrol station, then filling your face with chocolate that flirted with you as you queued up to pay.

I’ve not met many people who comfort eat healthy foods – it’s always the foods we know we shouldn’t eat too much of.

When you were a child, it maybe that you were rewarded for good behaviour with sweets or chocolate and learned that food was a reward.  Or maybe you learned comfort eating as a coping strategy as an adult.  Whatever your circumstances, it is possible to overcome it.

Comfort eating is a habit – an unconscious, powerful response to when you are in certain situations or when you are feeling a certain way.  Therefore we need to break the habitual pattern and to do that you need to become aware of your triggers.

Answer these questions below to become aware of your triggers to comfort eat:

  • When do you do it – is there a particular time of day, is it every day or weekends, or days out of your normal routine?
  • Where do you do it – are you at home, at work, in the car, or out and about?
  • How are you feeling just before – what is the feeling driving you to over eat?
  • How are you feeling during your comfort eating or just after?
  • Are you alone, secretly eating or with others?

What positive feeling does over eating get for you or what good feeling are you trying to get through over eating?  There will be one,  otherwise you wouldn’t do it.

When you have got an idea of that – spend some time to come up with a list of other things you can do instead that give you that positive feeling even more effectively than needlessly eating, which usually ends up  with a very negative state anyway.

After all, it’s not very comforting when you are feeling bad on yourself, or when you clothes just get tighter on you and your confidence is affected.

Take just one of your trigger situations and promise yourself to do something different for a week – in order to interrupt that programme your mind is running.

You absolutely can do this!

The more you interrupt it and do something else, the more fragile it becomes and the easier it is to make different choices that serve you better.  Don’t try and change everything at once – take each of your triggers in turn and put in place a new strategy for a while to see if it works for you instead.

If you are trying to soothe emotions, you can never push them down with food.  Emotions are a message and your mind will keep presenting this message to you until you listen to it.  By becoming aware of the feelings that drive you to over eat you can begin to hear that message.

If you need help to conquer your emotional eating habit, please do be in touch for a chat about how my methods can help.  I’ve worked with this issue many, many times.

As well as helping you to change your unconscious emotional eating pattern using hypnotherapy, I can also teach you tools and techniques to give you control for permanent change.

Please do contact me if you’d like some help with this issue.