Becoming a Conscious Eater is one of the most helpful ways to stop emotional eating.
Conscious Eating give you the skills to stop emotional eating.
A benefit is that the skills you learn are transferable to many challenges in life, not only emotional eating.
Conscious Eating isn’t a diet, so you can integrate the emotional eating skills over time.
Making a long term, lifelong shift in the way you relate to yourself and your body, you need to give yourself the gift of patience and compassion.
Keep in mind that we’re talking about a mindset-transformational shift in your relationship with yourself.
That’s big and we’ll take it one step at a time.
Our working definition of mindset is the way you think about things, or your ‘frame of mind’ as well as the way in which your thoughts shape your actions. It’s more than simply differentiating between a pessimistic (glass half empty) or optimistic (glass half full) point of view.
The mindset shift in Conscious Eating is away from formal dieting and denying yourself toward mindful growth in how you think, feel and relate to yourself.
This isn’t a ‘think differently and your behavior will change’ approach to emotional eating.
It is working with yourself toward a goal or value or belief—whatever word fits best for you—and knowing that you can create the necessary conditions to achieve your goal and live in harmony with your values.
A mindset shift is embodied and takes into account your full experience as a person in making change; mind, body and heart.
Becoming a Conscious Eater is learning to reshape how you care for yourself.
It is forward thinking and growth producing. You are learning to do things differently. Learning how to stop, listen, identify and live with compassion and kindness for you!
The most time consuming part of change is when you’re preparing to make a change, but you’re not quite there yet.
Small changes over time, bit by bit, adjusting to the newness, and continuing to move forward is effective. Being mindful of what’s working and what’s not and then making adjustments. Use the experience, both good and challenging, to help you know which way to go.
If quick change was lasting we would all do it. Obviously, it’s not.
When you’re able to use your time to learn about what will be lasting change it is worth the investment.
The good news is that when you stop, identify your needs, and listen to yourself, with kindness and compassion, you are much further along in the process of living in peace.
4 Conscious Eating skills to stop emotional eating.
An easy way to remember this process is SILK; Stop, Identify, Listen, and all of this with Kindness in your heart. Here’s the framework for it to happen:
SILK – Stop.
Focusing on food, identifying the food that is the most troublesome, telling yourself that you will be ‘good’ or ‘healthy,’ only takes you further away from your goal to be free of mindless eating.
Mindlessness keeps your attention on the surface, manipulating the food in an attempt to have a better relationship with yourself.
This feeds the problem.
The way out is to take the unpopular risk to shift your focus to your relationship with you and away from the food.
When you stop, you give yourself the space to consider other options.
The opportunity you open yourself to is growth. This is where a shift in mindset takes hold for your well-being.
Are the food rules you live with something like this; ‘I can’t eat ______, ______is bad, ______ leads to ______ health issue, etc? Have you repeated these to yourself so many times that you accept them as fact? If you eat one of these things do you experience shame and guilt?
Your challenge is to ask yourself if you are physically hungry and if so, what is my body asking me for right now?
The next question to ask yourself is: what do you emotionally need right now?
It may be that you don’t need food at all. You may need sleep, rest, friendship, love, space, quiet, movement, etc.
And finally, ask what you need mind, body and heart right now.
There could be questions you have about your life that you haven’t allowed yourself the opportunity to consider.
You probably won’t be very confident in your answers in the beginning. That’s OK!
Remember, this is a process of moving away from someone else’s ideals and moving toward your own self-knowledge, your unique relationship with yourself.
Establishing a relationship built on a foundation of love needs room to grow.
SILK – Identify
One of the first questions I ask the people I work with is, what are your needs? I would guess that 99 percent of the time they know that I’m not asking about food and shelter or even to change their body or behaviors in some way.
I know this because more often than not, they will look me in the eye and tears will well up with the profound knowledge that there is something missing.
There is a deep longing for growth that has stalled in the quest for a different body, as if that will bring happiness.
At some point you’ll stop and take a breath and allow yourself to clearly look at your life and know that it’s not totally about your body.
One of the most convenient times to do this is while eating.
Do only one thing while eating.
It is extremely difficult to emotionally, mindlessly eat if eating is your only activity.
Practice living in the present moment.
It take practice to sit with yourself while eating, especially when eating is your way of escaping discomfort.
If you’re reading a book, watching TV or working, it is nearly impossible to feel your emotions, hunger or fullness cues, or identify your needs in life.
Your attention is soaked up by the action in the story or the problem being solved.
You’re not in the present, giving yourself the attention you need; you’re on autopilot.
As you become more comfortable with identifying what you need, you will also get to know which foods you enjoy, how your body responds to different foods and what works best for you.
SILK – Listen
Growth requires intentional change and the way to get there is to increase your awareness of your self-talk and the thoughts and feelings you experience; outwardly silent, yet inwardly booming, crashing like a giant wave on your hope, motivation, and faith in yourself.
This means leaving negative self-talk, criticism and blame out of the equation.
The fight is over, a truce is called and the peace talks are happening.
The peace process is a little more complicated, takes more patience and you can do it.
Little by little, with consistent intention toward growth, the negative eases up, allowing room for growth.
Remember this is a shift in how you relate to yourself and the way you live your life. It is worth it!
We live in a time where our bodies are fair game for judgment, ridicule, objectification, shaming, embarrassment through fat shaming, attempts to live up to someone else’s expectations and over-sexualized.
You may be waiting for whatever obstacle—real or imagined—to go away. The way to remove the obstacle is to look at it. Address the problem when it happens.
Ask yourself, do I want to participate in this type of conversation with myself?
If I’m really listening to me, what might I hear instead of all of the negative stuff?
A mindset of growth means looking at what needs to change and working toward the goal, making prudent adjustments as needed.
Listening means moving away from controlling and toward acceptance.
Sometimes acceptance is confused with: ‘this is your lot in life, and it’s not going to change, so just get over it.’ I’m glad that this is totally, absolutely wrong!
Acceptance is looking and listening, so that your relationship with yourself can grow – mind, body and heart!
If you desire change, it is possible through healing, respect and kindness.
Accepting who you are today can be freeing and all of the energy you use to hate, survey and judge yourself, is now available to be used in more productive ways.
Listen for all of the good you can do and all of the happiness you can experience.
SILK – Kindness
Looking clearly, listening honestly, and stopping to pay attention, all give perspective and motivation to make adjustments and keep going.
Conscious Eating is curiosity, flexibility, and a willingness to make mistakes, so you can learn and grow emotionally and spiritually.
Popular diet and eating plans are overwhelmingly all about the quick fix.
They require you to shut off your emotions and good judgment about your nutritional needs, and to focus exclusively on changing your body.
The assumption is that a different body is the key to happiness in your life.
This devalues your humanity.
Dieting is not about health, it is about an illusion of control. An illusion that it is easy to have the life you want, if you only do this one thing and the rest will follow. If it worked, it would work!
You can shut off your feelings and ignore them for only a period of time and then they overflow and come rushing back, with the accompanying onslaught of overeating, emotional eating and feeling badly about yourself.
The truth is that Conscious Eating is about developing life-long skills for your health.
Many of the skills will help in other areas as well. The SILK process is a process of making choices that are connected to your inner-most knowledge about who you are and what you need for a happy and fulfilling life.
The big picture view of your life.
Kindness and compassion provide an excellent foundation for living your life in harmony.
Mistakes provide information to help you make more informed choices the next time.
When you become a Conscious Eater you are able to trust the decisions you make, because they are grounded in your self-knowledge.
Choice is freely made.
Remember, SILK: Stop, Identify, Listen, and Kindness. The path will always lead you back to you.