Are you a stress eater? I sure am. And given the stress we’ve had over the past two years curbing the stress eating or emotional eating is on the minds of many. Our Psychologist Olivia Dangas has some very helpful information for those of us prone to emotional eating.
Coping with Emotional Eating
Emotional eating is a form of self soothing, or coping. While indulging in our favourite food or treats is a great form of self care from time to time, it can become maladaptive when it is the only tool we use to cope with our emotions. Here is a four step process to alter our emotional eating patterns:
1. Notice. Start to become aware of your patterns of emotional eating: triggering situations, thoughts, and body sensations. Are your cravings for specific foods or types of foods? Is the urge sudden or gradual, intense or mild? Self awareness is key to making different coping choices.
2. Name. Work to put a specific name to your feelings (e.g., angry, overwhelmed, sad), keeping in mind that we can feel multiple and opposing feelings at once. Accurately labelling our feelings helps us to create space for them and guides us to what we need to do to cope effectively.
3. Nod. Allow your feelings! This can be difficult to do, especially when we have been accustomed to numbing our feelings with food. Feelings are a part of our human experience, so be gentle and compassionate with yourself as you navigate the feeling process.
4. Need. Based on what you have noticed, named, and nodded to, ask yourself what you need! For example, if you are feeling angry you may need to walk away from the situation and take a breath. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you may need to make a to do list and prioritize the items, and if you are sad, you could allow your tears to flow. Be proactive in brainstorming alternative coping strategies for our various feelings that come up.
If emotional eating is something you’d like to conquer…Olivia would love to work with you. She works with Adults, Couples and Youth 13+.
Cheers to real taking good care of ourselves,