Do you eat more when you’re feeling stressed?
Do you eat when you’re not hungry or when you’re full?
Do you eat to feel better (to calm and soothe yourself when you’re sad, mad, bored, or anxious)?
Do you reward yourself with food?
Do you regularly eat until you’ve stuffed yourself?
Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?
Did you answer YES to any of these questions?
I know I did!
Just last week I rewarded myself with ice cream after an incredibly stressful day. Or, when I was feeling down and depleted not too long ago, I made chocolate chip cookies to eat. If I didn’t recognize the cravings for what they are (“short-term gratitude”) I’d really be in trouble!
Fortunately, I’m aware of most of my triggers that fuel my cravings. The hardest part is not letting junk food, sweets and other unhealthy options be my primary coping mechanism, especially now that I’m trying to do more weight management. There are ways to deal with your emotions, avoid triggers, conquer cravings and put a stop to emotional eating.
First, pause when cravings hit and check in with yourself.
I know sometimes I feel powerless over my food cravings. When the urge hits, that’s usually all I can think about. It’s like an unbearable tension that demands to be fed IMMEDIATELY!
Before you cave, take 5 before you give in to the craving. Breathe.
Take notice of how you’re feeling and maybe why you’re feeling that way. You have ENOUGH will power to change your mindset and turn to other options of coping. You’re stronger than you think!
TOP 5 TRIGGERS to Emotional Eating and HOW TO COPE.
- STRESS. In the fast-paced world we live in, our body produces high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and fried foods—foods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure. The more uncontrolled stress you have in your life, the more likely you are to turn to food for emotional relief.
HOW TO COPE: Shift your mindset from reaching for food to engaging in other forms of stress relief. Experiment with a variety of activities to find one that works best for you.
Try mindfulness mediation, writing in a journal, reading a book or finding a few minutes to relax and decompress from the day.
Move your body. Breathe in fresh air by taking a walk or jog around the block. Or, do a quick yoga routine.
Carry your favorite calming essential oil and put a drop in the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together and bring them to your nose. Take in 3 deep breaths. Simple deep breathing is meditation that you can do almost anywhere. Sit in a quiet space and focus on your breath — slowly flowing in and out of your nostrils.
- BOREDOM. Boredom or feelings of emptiness. Food can feel like it fills a void in your life. It can occupy your mouth and your time. Food seems to be the distraction to your feelings of purposelessness and dissatisfaction with your life.
HOW TO COPE: Shift your mind to activities that you enjoy doing. Make a list of the things you love to do and turn to those activities when the craving arises, or before the craving hits. Diffuse PASSION or MOTIVATE blend to help rekindle feelings of excitement, passion and joy and encourage confidence and courage in your pursuits.
- EMOTIONS. Eating can be a way to temporarily silence or “stuff down” uncomfortable emotions, including anger, fear, sadness, anxious feelings, loneliness, resentment, and shame. While you’re numbing yourself with food, you can avoid the difficult emotions you’d rather not feel.
HOW TO COPE: If you are craving sweets, eat your favorite fruit. If you are craving salty, eat your favorite vegetables. When you are feeling like you’re in a good place to think rationally, journal how you felt and why you felt that way. Use tools like meditation, visualizations or even therapy to address your emotional concerns. Be sure to include at least one of the top 5 essential oils (posted below) to help curb your cravings.
- HUNGRY. When you wait too long to eat, your mind thinks you need to eat a bigger portion than necessary to make up for time lost. Or, you aren’t prepared for healthy eating, so you eat the first thing in sight that’s ready to consume. You go to a drive-in, grab a burger and fries and top it off with a Coke.
HOW TO COPE: At the minimum, eat 3 portioned meals a day. Or, if you are feeling really motivated, break it into 6 smaller meals. Whatever you decide to do, PLAN. Shop for quick easy snacks or meals that include a protein. Meal prep!
Drink lots of water – half of your body weight in ounces. Many think they are hungry when in actuality they are dehydrated and need to drink water. Add Lemon or Grapefruit to your water for a boost of flavor and extra benefits.
Making sure you get enough nutrients to fuel your body. It can be difficult to distinguish between true and emotional hunger. If you eat well throughout the day, it may be easier to spot when you’re eating out of boredom or sadness or stress.
- CONNECTION. Connecting with others and eating have been closely linked throughout much of history, down through the ages from one generation to another. It’s associated with fun, comfort and other positive emotions. To manage your weight effectively, it’s important to break the association between connection to others and eating, and to acknowledge that the most important reason to connect has nothing to do with food. You don’t need food to interact and bond with people you like. There are endless ways to do that without feeding yourself.
HOW TO COPE: It’s okay to be daring and suggest a different way (other than food) to connect. You may be surprised at how many takers there are, and you may be helping others make a change in their lives, too.
The weather is beautiful now. Get outside and do things with friends and loved ones.
If you’re going to gather around a meal, think about how to make it healthier. Suggest a healthier restaurant alternative or meeting at someone’s home, where there will be nutritious dishes. The meal doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy, and neither does the restaurant.
Plan connecting around your exercise time. Invite friends to join you for your daily walk.
Invite someone over just to chat — after you’ve both had lunch or dinner. That way, you can give each other your full attention.
Other factors to consider if you are an emotional eater is exercise, sleep and self-care. Make daily exercise a priority. Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Make time for self-care every day. These healthy habits will help you get through difficult times without emotional eating.
If you are an emotional eater at times, consider finding new coping mechanisms to help distract you from your cravings. Grab a few oils below and let them help you in your journey to weight management!
doTERRA Essential oils and Supplements for Weight Management:
- Black Pepper: Helps reduce huger, creating a feeling of fullness and reducing fat stores.
- Citrus Bliss: Aids in increasing metabolism and draining the lymphatic system.
- Cypress: Helps reduce cellulite, increase detoxification and improve circulation.
- Grapefruit: Aids in the breakdown of fats
- 5. Cinnamon: May help to balance blood sugar.
- Slim & Sassy: Combines ingredients that help to control hunger and increase metabolism.
- Slim & Sassy Trim Shake: Increases appetite satisfaction and balances blood sugar.
- GX Assist: Improves digestion and aids in cleansing.
- Terrazyme: Improves digestion and eliminates toxins from the body.
- PB Assist+: Improves digestion and increases the number of calories burned.
- Zendocrine: Helps to balance the thyroid.