There is no fast track to stop emotional eating and transform your relationship with food.
There, I said it at the start, so if you are looking for a quick fix, I’m not going to hold you in suspense any longer.
This isn’t one of those types of articles about how you can shortcut your way to health.
You’re much too important for half-truths and harmful tactics.
Many, many people have searched for years and still come up short.
I wish there was a pain-free way to change, but I haven’t found it yet.
However, if you’re more interested in a lasting lifelong change where you stop emotional eating and transform your eating habits, Conscious Eating may be just the right fit for you!
Read on and find out how you can match the type of goal to the situation you want to change.
Making a new start to work through emotional eating, requires a plan with flexibility – yet at the same time, you need to stay focused on your goal.
You also need different types of goals for different situations.
A lot of people I work with have the knowledge about food, balanced nutrition, appropriate physical activity levels, etc., which is good but only gets you halfway to your goal, which is good but it’s still only halfway to your goal.
To keep moving and accomplish the goal requires intentional action. You need to apply the knowledge in a way that feels right, is supportive of your health and motivates you to apply the knowledge with the intention to make different choices today than you did yesterday.
The way to do this is to first make your goal a really big goal. This is the overall, transformational change you want in your life. Once you have the goal clearly defined we’re going to break it down into manageable, action oriented, smaller goals.
Here are some examples of transformational goals:
- I want to be happy and enjoy my life.
- I want to feel good physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- I want to surround myself with relationships I enjoy, are growth oriented and mutually beneficial – work, family, friends, etc.
Think about this for a while. You are worth the effort to take your time, weed your way through the easy quick answers and get to what your heart knows is your truth. It may take some ongoing refinement to get to the heart of your big goal.
These are usually the so called, “pie in the sky” desires.
It’s often a steady process of trial and error, making adjustments along the way, and paying attention to what brings you the feeling of peace. Sit with it and work with the big goal until you’re crystal clear about what you need in your life.
Remember being conscious in life means that you remain aware of changes and when a shift needs to happen you’ll have the tools to figure out what you need and how to get it.
Now that you’re on your way with the big goal, it’s time to implement it.
You’ll need a few different types of goals to get you there. One type will fit for a certain situation and another for a different situation. The most important part to remember is that becoming a Conscious Eater requires you to grow and be curious about how you think, feel and talk to yourself.
Change evolves from the inside and shows up on the outside in many different ways.
Here’s a look at three of the most popular smaller goals and a few ideas about how to build and feed your motivation to achieve them.
Weight Loss – you’ve tried diets and extreme workouts and feel like a failure because you abandoned “the plan” before you reached your goal or you reached the goal, but maintaining it was too difficult and the weight came back.
This is the number one frustration that leads people to Conscious Eating. You want to maintain a weight that feels right to you and you want to eat well, feel good about how you nourish your body and end the focus on dieting. You want your mental energy back so you can focus on the things that really matter in life.
Enjoy food and set limits that don’t feel like diet related, “that’s fattening; bad for me; can’t eat that because…, etc.” since these thoughts will only lead back to feeling bad about yourself. Instead, create a flexibility goal.
Shift from all or nothing thinking to choices you naturally have in life. “Today I choose to enjoy x or today I don’t really want x and that’s OK, my goal is to ____ and I can have that food another time.”
It’s all about choice and making decisions based on what you really want long term – your big goal, not external pressures and short-term reactions.
Emotional eating, binge eating, food addiction, compulsive eating, whatever it’s called doesn’t matter as much as your desire and need to stop stressing out about food.
The repetitive thoughts, daydreams about the food you’ll buy, searching for the perfect recipe and the bargaining that this is the last time you’ll “do it” need to stop. The amount of stress and negative self-talk this creates is extreme and wastes your valuable time and energy that you could be using to do things you really need and want to do for your own peace of mind.
This situation requires a self-compassion goal.
Keep your focus on what you want while expressing compassion for yourself. The main objective is to comfort yourself with kindness rather than harsh judgments or rules, that you’ll most like rebel against in the end.
Kindness, compassion, and love will get you further down the path of health than you think.
When you’re able to receive what you need from yourself you’ll be motivated to create more opportunities for the process to continue.
Motivation to treat your body well with exercise or physical activity that helps you to feel strong.
Too often you jump into it head first, forcing your body to recover and keep going, but in the end, you have injuries, can’t recover the way you want to, and hit a plateau. These issues are often due to treating your body as if it is an object to control rather than your most precious resource.
When you listen to your body and work with where you are right now you’ll increase your awareness of when you need to rest and when you can push more. You’ll work with your natural rhythm and do what is needed.
This requires a coaching goal.
A good coach sees your potential and acknowledges that you’ve got to start with where you are right now. Taking this into account, you can break down the encouragement you give yourself into a step by step process.
Doing a little more than yesterday stretches you, but not too much that you give up. It’s a workout by workout, walk by walk, yoga class by yoga class accepting that you’re working and growing. The goal is to stay in the game and this happens by protecting your body with just the right amount of activity.
Focusing on what you want in your relationship with food and ultimately connecting with you in a more conscious way is a very realistic goal. It is just one of those goals that you work on bit by bit, over time, and then suddenly you notice, “Hmm, I don’t do/think/worry about that anymore.”
Conscious Eating takes time.
Slowly making changes over time and integrating those small changes bit by bit is why it’s lasting. Pay attention to the little things. Shifts in how you feel, decreased levels of stress, making better food choices, etc. This helps you stay motivated and focused on your goals. There isn’t the excitement about dramatic changes over a short period of time—that’s a good thing. Dramatic changes are usually too much to handle all at once. People find it hard to move from one extreme to the other. You need to grow and adapt and small goals can lead you to the better place you want to be.
Conscious Eating changes happen on a smaller scale so you can integrate them into your life as you move toward your big transformational goal.
For example, it’s much easier to change from 5 sugars to 3 sugars to eventually, 1 sugar in your coffee than to go from 5 sugars to 0 sugars. Easy being a relative term because getting used to something different isn’t easy. Gradual change gives you time to consider your options as you go, so you can figure out what works best for you. As you develop your skills for identifying your needs and filling them, you will also find that you are able to focus on the things in life that are truly life-giving. You may find that you enjoy your relationships more rather than focusing on stuff, like food.
Life is less about the material things you can possess and more about the connections you have with yourself and others.
It takes practice and focus, to keep on track. And, once you’ve developed the skills they become like a reflex that you naturally use without too much thought. Allow yourself to create limits that are supportive and nurturing. Kindness with limits is the way toward food peace. Sign up for the worksheet and get started today!