If you’re like me, you’ve been delicately (and sometimes not so delicately!) been trying to navigate your way through these bizarre and uncertain times.
With the mandatory quarantine still in effect due to COVID-19, not only have many people lost their familiar routines and the lifestyle habits that accompanied them, but also have found themselves dealing with unusual and very uncomfortable feelings like anxiety, confusion, lack of focus, apathy, depression and even anger.
Although these feelings can be very understandable responses given the situation, left unattended to in a loving and productive way so they are processed and move through your body, these feelings can soon overwhelm us and even disable us, which can lead to our healthy lifestyle and self-care routines taking a big hit or even getting thrown out the window all together!
One of the main unfortunate results of all these negative feelings is you might find yourself Emotionally Eating. Also called Stress Eating, Emotional Eating results when we eat to distract, numb or otherwise disconnect ourselves from unwanted feelings or feelings we don’t otherwise know how to handle.
Some of my other writings, materials and social media posts gets more info the emotional processing component, but for now, here are some quick tips I put together to try to help you, (and myself!), so we can all get back on track , minimize the damage and keep our minds and body’s sharp, strong and HEALTHY and be part of the solution of contributing good energy to the world – especially now when it needs it the most!
And if you want more tips on how to stay fit, happy and SANE during this time, check out my latest eBook, The COVID-19 Fit Survival Plan or my other recent blog post.:)
My Top Tips to Get a Grip on Emotional Eating
- Write Down What You’re Eating and Feeling (just for a few days!)
The first step for creating any wanted change is to increase awareness of what’s actually happening. This will help give you information so you start to understand why you’re getting what you’re getting.
I tell my clients to simply write down every single thing they eat and drink (including how much) and preferably how they’re feeling before or after. The key here is to NOT JUDGE yourself or edit or change anything, just record. Remember this is FOR YOU – so you can learn and understand some things I will teach you. It can be a very valuable tool to get a picture of where you are and shed light on any connections between your mood and food and feelings, but it can only work if it’s 100% accurate! Then start noticing patterns and looking for connections of how you feel, your body symptoms/weight and what you are eating, how you are sleeping, moving or not moving, etc.
- Separate Physical Hunger from Emotional Hunger by using The Hunger Scale
So much of Stress and Emotional Eating is due to trying to “feed” emotional or spiritual “hunger” rather than physical hunger. Obviously this will never work as it’s the wrong “fuel” and unfortunately will only result in weight gain in addition to the original problem!
Knowing what you’re feeling and how to process and handle your feelings without judging them is a critical component to both mental and physical wellness. So next time you reach for food when you’re not physically hungry, stop and think, or even better, stop and feel what you’re feeling inside and process those feelings by asking yourself:
- What is it I’m feeling?
- What is it I’m wanting?
- What is it I’m needing right now?
- What can I do to love myself right now?
- What would my higher, most loving Self say, do or want me to know in this moment?
Another thing that will help you is a tool I teach my clients, something I call The Hunger Scale”. On a scale of 1-10, write down how “physically” hungry you are before and after meals “10” being STARVING and “1” being STUFFED/FULL. Record this in your Journal. The goal is to stay slightly hungry after you eat and stop when about 80% full. Ideally eat when you’re between a 3 and 7 on the scale. Avoid the extremes of being stuffed and famished. This helps with digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients and weight loss.
- Stay Hydrated – with Pure WATER!
So much of our overeating is simply because we are actually dehydrated but don’t know it! Often we “look to food” for energy because we are actually needing hydration to run the body. Plus it’s hard to overeat when you’re already “full” from adequate water.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are glued to your phone, tablet or desktop or other electronic device, than you are almost certainly dehydrated, as non-native electromagnetic rays (EMFS) are known to cause dehydration (among other extremely undesirable side-effects like sleep problems, brain fog, low energy and mood problems and free-radical damage and pre-mature aging). So drink up!
A good rule of thumb is to drink a minimum of ½ your body weight in ounces of pure water per day. This helps with weight loss, elimination, appetite control, cold-prevention, hair, skin and nails and energy levels.
- Have a Healthy Stress Outlet
Having a regular method to manage the stresses in your life is critical – not just for now but always, because life will always involve change/growth and that can lead to stress…”growing pains”!
For me, I have a daily Tai Chi and Breathing practice which helps ground and center me. Also getting outside with fresh air and direct natural sunlight is critical for good health. Unplugging from technology and just being in nature will restore, replenish and revitalize us more than any food, pill or drug can..and it’s free and with with no side-effects!
Exercise and movement and physical activity is another thing to keep as part of your daily routine. Not only will it help “move” your energy but also your feelings. For me, exercise helps me get out of my head and into my body which helps restore holistic balance to my being. Yoga and meditation are popular for many people too as are long baths and reading romance novels!
5. Reach Out to a Friend…or Go Make One!
It’s kinda ironic that when we feel lonely and down usually we retract and withdraw from others and being social, yet it’s the one thing that can eliminate our sadness and pain the most! Give yourself the support you need and reach out to a person rather than food for connection and love. Trust me, you are not alone and there’s a whole bunch of people that are feeling the same as you and looking for others!
I hope these tips help!
Please let me know and feel free to share with a friend who might need themJ