This time of year, client after client, and the frustrating echo of family-induced emotional eating fills my client calls, inbox and FB messenger!
It’s just the crappy truth that it’s more difficult to remain ‘emotionally eating free’ when family is near (+ lots of tempting food!). Family serves as a special and primitive kind of trigger for anyone who already struggles with chronic dieting, food obsession, calorie counting, body image issues, over / emotional eating, and so on.
So, if you’re more temped to over eat or emotionally eat when you’re with family members, like I am, you’ll want to claim the following five tools for yourself. They have saved my ass, many times over! The family eating arena used to be a HUGE problem for me during the years I was working to remove all kinds of food-related dependency challenges, which coincidentally only took about 13 years, give or take...
Now, I have many great tools to call upon when temptations feel like they are about to take me over … Um, like they did this past thanksgiving. Interrupting is KEY to steering clear of emotional eating benders.
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HERE ARE FIVE TOOLS FOR YOU TO USE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!
1) KEEP UP WITH YOUR BOUNDARIES
Okay, let’s face it, we are most lax with setting or maintaining boundaries when our ‘growing up tribe’ is near by. AND, when we don’t set or keep strong boundaries, we feel like ‘we are not enough’, nor ‘worth protecting’. If or when we allow others to breach our boundaries, numbing or escaping into situations like over eating, over drinking (shopping, social media, and so on) becomes inevitable.
You must demonstrate courage and self love in the way of strong boundaries if you aspire to remove emotional eating from your life.
2) SPEAK YOUR HEART
Yep, here it is again. I guess I’m always preaching about speaking your heart! But the truth is, people are just not practiced with sharing what is on their heart. Although, expressing your heart is the most authentic expression of you! Which is radically important to living fully, being peaceful and feeling joyfull.
And when you don’t share your heart? You will feel some combination of resentment, fear, anxiety, shame and self-betrayal that will ultimately be expressed as anger toward others.
The lesson, if you don’t want to over eat or be a nasty little turd, share you heart and feelings as candidly and lovingly as you can- EVEN if you think it will make waves or break those damn eggs you’ve been walking on for 2+ decades!
3) BREATHE AWAY YOUR ANXIETY
Spending time with family often induces some level of anxiety in people, which too, signals a desire to or action to over eat. Enter breathing! Breathing is the most efficient tool for combatting anxiety, and thus will help avoid emotional eating (btw, eating past full and eating out of so-called boredom are also forms of emotional eating).
All you need to do is simply turn your focus to your breath. Pretend you have a balloon in your chest and another in your tummy, then imagine yourself filling and deflating your balloons simultaneously. Then repeat each time you are feeling tempted or overly emotional in any way. Of course there are many advanced breathing techniques, but this will get you started!
4) JOURNAL… A LOT
During the holiday season, or anytime of the year that you are feeling more raw or vulnerable, is a great time to keep your journal with you at all times. This may seem a tad excessive, but… when you’re already emotionally compromised, it’s likely a necessary support system.
For the duration of an emotionally tempting timeframe, you will want to journal before you want to eat (every time you eat). Try the following format as you journal. Ask yourself two simple questions. 1) Am I hungry in my body and need nutritious fuel, or am I hungry in my heart and need some type of care? Be sure to ask this question to your heart. 2) If you find that ‘hungry in your heart’ is the answer, you will then ask ‘What kind of care, love, support can I share with myself or ask for from another in order to fuel my soul? Then take action!
When you get your emotional needs met, emotional eating and over eating moves away from your radar. Likewise, starving your emotional needs will lead you to attempt to fill your heart with vices that can never quench your thirst.
5) PERMISSION TO BE IMPERFECT
Alright, let’s say you went ahead and over ate anyway. Does it have to be a big deal? Or can you choose to let it go and share compassion with yourself? After all, you did the best you could for this particular time.
Despite your gorgeous efforts, the anxiety and family pressure takes over at times. And when it does, that experience alone was, no doubt, taxing enough. So please do not add salt to the wound with mental self-bashing.
Sometimes, you just need to give yourself a break… We are imperfect and we make imperfect choices sometimes. The more you battle yourself mentally and emotionally, the more you activate your little inner rebel, which only encourages her to go off and dishonor your body with more food and drink. You know, the part of you that says, “don’t tell me I can’t have mom’s home made apple pie, or I’ll have four pieces to spite you!”
Yep, that little voice is alive and well in all of us and she needs to be honored too.
As she only appears when you’re feeling emotionally compromised. SHE is your signal, the sound of her voice is your cue that more self-love and compassion is THE solution and what the whole of you needs. She doesn’t need any self-loathing.
And before you even say it, NO! Giving yourself compassion for mis-stepping will NOT encourage you to eat the whole pie. Self-compassion achieves the exact opposite. More self-bashing, more eating – More compassion, less eating!
Click here to download your FREE Dieting Be Damned, 5 Day Kick Start Program!