Have you ever eaten when you’re happy?
Sad? Confused? Stressed out?
Maybe you were feeling out of control or unworthy and it felt as if the only way to calm yourself, ground yourself, or to wash away the negativity — was to eat.
Maybe your emotional eating feels like it’s taking hold of you. Maybe the thought of change —of moving forward — feels scary and difficult and insurmountable.
I know it’s in you to make the shift and start nourishing yourself with food instead of punishing yourself, shaming yourself and making yourself feel stressed out and unworthy because of your eating habits.
Apart from deciding you’d like to change the way you approach eating and your relationship with food, the first step is to begin being much more compassionate with yourself.
I don’t believe we can create the change we crave when we’re being unkind to ourselves… so take a deep breath, send yourself some love and keep on reading.
Here are three ways you can begin to free yourself from emotional eating:
Let go of your rules
There’s no rule that says you have to create food rules for yourself. In fact, the only rule I ask my clients to follow is that they listen to their bodies and honour what those messages are.
I used to have rules that I couldn’t eat sourdough bread during the week, that I wasn’t allowed to eat more than one piece of fruit a day — and on the list went.
These rules weren’t made from a space of freedom and fluidity, but from rigidity and restriction.
How can we create freedom and harmony in our lives if we’re taking action from a space of restriction?
As soon as I began to release my food rules and eat more intuitively, I realised that sourdough toast (with a poached egg and some avocado) for breakfast on a Tuesday was a wonderful thing. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, and getting over the perceived internal hurdle of eating without rules began to feel so much easier.
Spend a few moments thinking of the ways you place restrictions on yourself and your eating habits. This is most likely coming from a lack of self-trust, and once you can acknowledge what your food rules are you can begin to take note of whether or not they’re truly supporting, nourishing and sustaining you.
And if they’re not? Let them go.
Guilt free with compassion and a big side-serve of self-trust. Your body knows what you need… now honour it.
Give yourself permission to eat what nourishes and sustains your body and your soul
Following on from letting go of your rules is to begin to give yourself permission to nourish your body in a way that feels good to you. The best way to do this? Stop looking at everyone else’s plate.
It doesn’t matter what your bestie is having for lunch — if it’s a meal that wouldn’t serve you.
What do you want to eat? How can you eat in a way that feels nourishing?
I also believe it’s important we nourish our bodies and our souls. So yes, I think giving ourselves permission to indulge now and then is as important as eating your greens.
By doing this, you’re taking away the shame of eating treats and you’ll soon see you can eat a treat as mindfully and consciously and calmly as you can eat an apple.
Don’t eat in secret
Hiding what you eat and how much you eat perpetuates the cycle of guilt, shame and bingeing.
It perpetuates the feeling that you are a bad person and that what you’re doing is wrong —when none of this is true.
It perpetuates the subconscious notion that you’re flawed, wounded or not good enough, which makes you want to eat more.
My best tip for this is to stop hiding your eating, because you have nothing to hide.
Eat in full view of others. Don’t be ashamed any longer. You’re not doing anything wrong when you eat. You are nourishing your body, and that nourishes you. And when you feel nourished on all levels, you know your worth, you know you’re good enough, and you feel harmony in your body.
For a little extra support on this tip, here’s a free audio lesson I created to help you walk away from emotional eating.
You are completely capable of letting go of old habits and making space for new ones.
You can begin by being patient, kind and compassionate to yourself, releasing old rules and setting new intentions, listening to your body and releasing the need to compare yourself to others or to your ‘ideal’ self.
Hey, hang out for awhile. Dive into my bank of creative recipes, inspiring interviews and life musings. But be warned, you will leave feeling healthier, happier and inspired. Just sayin’.