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how to deal with emotional eatingYou’re not hungry but you want to eat, even though you know you shouldn’t. As you mindlessly walk toward the refrigerator you swear it’s just to look around. After pulling out a few things, you promise yourself that you will have just a bite but before you know it, it’s all gone—and now your so mad at yourself you say F**k it and do a deep dive into the cake too.

In truth, you are hungry for something. It’s just not food.[clickToTweet tweet=” When we eat without true hunger it’s because something is missing in our life emotionally ” quote=” When we eat without true physical hunger we do it for one really big reason— there is something missing in our life either in a emotional or spiritual sense and we think it can be found in food. “]

95 percent of diets fail because we are only looking at shedding the weight physically, not emotionally or spiritually.

I can explain. Let’s take a hypothetical woman named Jan who is obese and needs to lose weight for health reasons.  She just had part of her stomach removed to limit the amount of food she can ingest.  After the honeymoon period where she looses over 60 pounds is over, she begins to become depressed.  This depression is sending her back to her old patterns and she is figuring out any way possible to get more food into her body to make her feel better (which it doesn’t).  This causes more depression because she is starting to gain the weight back which, in turn makes her eat more.  One year after her surgery she is back to her old weight again and feeling even worse than when she started. 

How did she get there?  Let’s go back in time for a minute because we all have a little of Jan in our psyche.  The first time she experienced a negative emotion and realized a piece of cake (feel free to pick your food of choice; mine are brownies) made her feel better, her brain created a connection that said “Rejection/judgment/whatever the bad feeling is hurts less when I have cake.” She taught yourself that a cake was what would make it all better, and in the moment, it was a distraction to her true feelings. But it doesn’t heal the underlying wounds, it just makes them a little worse. As long as she mindlessly eats based on a false perception (that eating will make her feel better), she will perpetuate this negative pattern and stay trapped in bad habits no matter what.  Stapling her stomach didn’t solve her weight situation because she never addressed the issue behind the eating.

Wellness is about looking at the body as a whole.  Whenever one part of the mind, body and soul is out of balance, in this case it’s the physical weight, we need to look at where we are emotionally and spiritually heavy as well. 

When we are mindlessly heading for the refrigerator, and we know we aren’t hungry, we need to stop and ask ourselves these important questions about why we are emotional eating:

  1. Are we trying to feed our body or our soul?
  2. Are we craving love, acceptance, or happiness in food?
  3. Who are we serving?
  4. Is something going on in our life that needs to be addressed?
  5. Is this just a pattern of old habits that needs to be broken?

By becoming self aware, we can end the self loathing of constantly disappointing ourselves because we can’t keep the weight off.  By bringing awareness and love to that hole in our heart that we have been filling up with food we can heal it, releasing the need to eat.

 a  Sure it can take some time to uncover the real reason behind why we eat and for some, a little therapy would be really helpful too, but wouldn’t it be better to finally get that thing that you have been prisoner to for so many years off your back?

Remember every time you feel sad or angry that your instinct to reach for the comfort food is not an instinct that serves you well. It’s perpetuating the falsehood food will make it all better. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and you’ll start to realize that you can cope with your emotions by facing them head-on, not by eating them.

About the Author

Emotional eating and spiritualityLisa Douthit is the author of Amazon’s #1 bestselling book, Wellness Warrior – Fighting for Life in Fabulous Shoes and an Integrative Health Consultant who is passionate about healing from all perspectives.  After struggling with multiple bouts of cancer and the autoimmune disease Myasthenia Gravis, no one understands the physical, spiritual, and emotional rollercoaster better than she does. As one of the 40 million American women currently suffering with an autoimmune disease, she made it her mission to have a voice for all those with an invisible illness that cannot, as well as share the understanding of lessons she learned to help us all feel and be better. She has a private Facebook Group called Wellness Warrior Tribe for all those with chronic illness looking for support and encouragement.  For more out of the box thinking that is guaranteed to bring you joy, Like her FaceBook Page Here or join the tribe Here.

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