Do you struggle with how, when, and what you eat?
You fear the eating and want to control it, push it away, and lock it in a box. To just forget about it and be able to “eat like a normal person”?
Well, let me tell you: You are 100% normal! And locking your unwanted eating in a box is the last thing you want to do. It’s got so, so much to tell you – all you have to do is learn to listen.
Why you should listen to your eating
Unwanted eating comes in all shapes and sizes. For some it’s a cheese sandwich before bed, for others it’s after work snack-athons, while others experience weekends of uninterrupted junk food. No matter what you’re eating (or how much), it’s how you feel about it that makes it a problem. The fact you don’t like it, it makes you feel bad, and you can’t change it – that makes it unwanted eating.
The most common advice for “combating” this kind of eating usually has to do with control, willpower, crushing cravings, and mind-over-matter. It’s quite forceful and violent language – no wonder your unwanted eating can’t be beaten or shouted into submission. The harder you fight with it, the harder it fights back.You have to work with it gently, calmly, and with respect.
Because goodness knows, it bites!
And it has something really important to tell you. You’re not eating because you lack willpower or control, you’re eating to fill a very real need in your mind, body, or soul. It’s only by listening to the message of your unwanted eating, and filling your needs in other ways, that you can heal.
What does your unwanted eating say?
The first step is to hear the messages your eating is trying to tell you. Just like a child who draws all over the walls because she’s bored, under stimulated, or wants attention, your unwanted eating is also happening for a very good reason. Once you’ve heard and understood the messages, you can start to heal with new behaviours and understandings.
Some common messages are:
Binge eating after work: is often your body and mind asking for more pleasure and relaxation throughout the day.
Unwanted eating after dinner: can signal a need for more calories and nutrition in your day.
Unwanted snacking in front of the TV: is often your mind asking for a distraction from something or some stimulation because you’re bored and unfulfilled.
Your reasons for eating will be as unique as you are. It’s a power part of your healing to work out what messages and needs are behind your particular unwanted eating.
How can you do this when the cravings and whirlwind of eating hits?
Slow down, get pleasure, and embody.
That’s right: there are no punishments, no willpower, and no self-control rules here. Your aim is to be gentle and listen. The push and shove, the “control” you’ve been trying obviously don’t work, so experiment with something else: mindful eating.
The next time you feel you’re going to eat in a way that isn’t what you want, try thinking to yourself:
Ok – here we go. I know I don’t like this, but it’s happening for a reason. There’s a message here, and it’s ok. I’m ok. Let’s go eat and see what my body is trying to tell me.
Now, when you eat, take a deep breath, slow things down, and enjoy what you’re eating. Don’t give in to that urge to stuff it in your mouth – be stubborn about your pleasure. Look, taste, smell, and feel the food. Notice how your body feels and where those sensations are.
Can you give them a name?
Maybe you can’t hear the messages or reasons the first few times you try this. But, by giving yourself the space, time, and permission to listen they will come through. Then, you can decide what to do with them to heal heal and fulfill the real reasons behind your unwanted eating.
If you’d like to know more about what messages and needs are tangled up with your eating, and want a solid step-by-step plan to work with them (instead of against yourself), please check out my new ebook-workbook, ‘The Emotional Eating 7-day Action Plan’ – you’ll be eating easier in no time.
Hi guys, I’m Samantha and I’m a Certified Eating Psychology coach. I work with women who struggle with emotional eating and weight gain. Together we work to uncover the root causes of unwanted eating so you can heal, lose weight, and feel awesome. I know what it’s like to struggle and eat in a way that doesn’t serve you – and there is a better way. For more help to end your unwanted eating, check out my free quick-guide ‘4 Steps to Stop Your Unwanted Eating’.