We have all been there… Things get stressful or wake up feeling ‘blah’ – and the next thing you know you have eaten half a jar of peanut butter and the block of Cadbury is well under way.
As challenging as it can be, we need to stop and ask ourselves are we actually physically hungry? Or is it our emotions ruling our decision making process.
Once you consciously begin distinguishing physical hunger from emotional hunger you’ll need techniques to help you cope with your emotions. The techniques discussed here are not intended to address serious emotional issues that require professional treatment. Rather, they can assist you in coping with common emotions that cause you to eat when you’re not physically hungry.
- REFLECT on your feelings:
Instead of munching on a bag of chips without thought, take some time-out to reflect on your feelings. This way, you can sort out your feelings without the added guilt of overeating. Many times, the simple realization that you’re feeling bored because there’s nothing interesting on TV is enough to get you engaged in some other activity that’s more fulfilling.
- FACE your feelings later:
Once you realize that you’re reaching for food out of emotional hunger, you may elect to take a short vacation from your feelings without eating. Make an agreement with yourself to engage in some other activity and deal with the emotional issue at a specific time in the future.
- The loving HEART exercise:
This is an exercise designed to fill yourself with love.
Find a comfortable place to sit and relax without distraction. Close your eyes and hold your hands, cupped like a bowl, in your lap.
Think of someone in your life who deeply loves you or whom you love deeply. Now, visualize this love as something tangible. Feel the dense, soft, warm love fill your cupped hands. When the love fills your hands so much that you can no longer hold it all, bring your hands toward your heart and take a deep breath. Inhale all this pure love deep into your body.
Continue to breath deeply and slowly until all the love you’ve been holding in your hands is now in your heart being pumped out to your body. Feel the warmth of this love saturate every fiber of your being. As you bask in this feeling, say to yourself, “I am filled with love. I am love. I have value”
It’s not uncommon for this exercise to result in an immediate emotional release in the form of tears. If this happens, don’t be startled or embarrassed by your reaction. Continue to relax, breathe deeply and feel the love emanating from inside you.