Fortunately, there are many proactive steps that you can take to keep functioning on all your mental cylinders during tough times. These range from basic relaxation techniques, to a reliable support network.
Other options are also to:
Keep a food journal, this helps you to identify your emotional eating triggers.
Yoga helps to clear the mind and cultivate mental and emotional well being as well as being great at strengthening the core.
Developing good problem solving skills.
Turning to message boards or blogging community for help and support when you need it. Offering to help others to get your mind off of your own troubles and to gain some perspective.
All of these things take time. Some of us want this to happen overnight, right now, we want to see the end result. What happens when we need something right now, to keep ourselves grounded, focused and able to make good decisions? Sometimes we do not have time to take a walk, relax in a hot bath, or call a friend to talk things over.
Well you can try these 3 steps, that only take 3 minutes:
Stay Grounded: Emotional eating happens when you lose your connection to your grounded self. Stress itself is not what makes you eat. In fact, stress is often a good thing and your grounded self knows this! We need the physical stress of working out to keep our bodies in good shape, just as we need the stress of intellectual and emotional challenges to keep our minds healthy.
A lot of times what leads to the emotional eating is getting caught up in a "mind storm" of worst-case scenario's, projections, misinterpretation's, and all the emotional over reactions that come with these thoughts. The storm turns a manageable challenge into something that makes you feel helpless, overwhelmed or afraid. This sends you to the refrigerator to find something to stuff those feelings. When you are able to stay grounded during these times of stress, you really have many more options.
Take a few deep breaths ( count to 10). If the stress is related to someone, take a time out, agree to continue the conversation later.
Remind yourself where you are. Take note of the colors and shapes of everything around you.
Note the physical sensations that you are experiencing. Whether it is a sinking feeling, turmoil in your stomach, tension in your hands, restricted breathing, try to name the feelings that go with the sensation.
The idea here to is stay in your body and in the moment - with what is real - instead of going inside of your mind where all of those unreal scenario's are just waiting to spin out of control.
Reality Check: Once you are calm enough to start thinking productively, put all of those thoughts clammering around in your head through a reality check.
All or nothing thinking
Example: You go over your calorie limit or eat something on your “forbidden” list, and then decide to keep eating because you’ve already “blown it” for today. Reality: Weight loss is not a one-day event. If you stop overeating now, you’ll gain less and have less to re-lose later. That’s something to feel good about!
Reading your own thoughts into someone else’s words
Example: Someone made a mildly critical or unsupportive remark to you, and you feel completely devastated. Reality: The more bothered you are by such remarks, the more likely it is that you are being overly critical of yourself. When you treat yourself with respect, what others say won’t matter nearly so much.
Example: You make a mistake or have a bad day and feel like a complete and hopeless failure. Reality: No one does well all the time. Mistakes are a necessary and valuable opportunity to learn—if you don’t waste them by getting down on yourself.
Taking care of other people’s business
Example: Something is going badly for someone you care about, and you feel responsible, or pressured to fix it. Reality: People need to learn from their own problems. You aren’t doing anyone a favor by trying to fix things just to make yourself feel better.
How big a deal is this, anyway? If I knew I was going to die in a week, would this be something I would want to spend this minute of my remaining time on?
Will any bad things happen if I postpone thinking about this until I have more time to figure things out?
Do I have all the information I need to decide how to respond to this? Do I really know what’s going on here, or am I making assumptions? Am I worrying about things that might not even happen? What do I need to check out before taking action?
Is there anything I can do right now that will change or help this situation?
Am I trying to control something I can't, like what other people think, say, or do?
Use this approach whenever your thoughts or situations begin to feel overwhelming, and you'll quickly find that the mountains that seem impossible at first can quickly morph into what they really are—manageable hills that you DO have the ability to climb. All it takes is three little minutes of your time.
I am so trying to live by this, as emotional eating is what got me where I am today!
Happy Hump Day!