Get Out From Under Weighty Emotions for Healthier Eating
Do you tend to overeat or indulge in unhealthy foods when you are feeling let down or stressed out? If so, you are not alone.
According to the American Psychological Association, 27 percent of adults say they eat to manage stress and 34 percent of those who report overeating or eating unhealthy foods say they do it out of habit.
Why do we crave certain foods when we are stressed out? Research has shown that eating certain “comfort” foods (like pizza and french fries) causes our brains to release the same kinds of chemicals as highly addictive opioid drugs.
Meanwhile, negative emotions have been linked to both overeating and lack of appetite in children, according to a new study from University College London. In the study, researchers found that emotional eating is driven by environmental factors, regardless of the child’s genetic risk of obesity.
“Experiencing stress and negative emotions can have a different effect on appetite for different people,” a summary states. “Some crave their favorite snack, whereas others lose their desire to eat altogether when feeling stressed or sad. This study supports our previous findings suggesting that children’s emotional over- and under-eating are mostly influenced by environmental factors… and that genes are largely unimportant for emotional overeating in childhood.”
A major cause of emotional eating, and an underlying cause of many eating disorders, is emotional baggage – what I call trapped emotions. Unresolved feelings from troubling or traumatic life experiences can drive us to seek comfort and solace in food. This is especially problematic because almost everyone harbors these emotions to some extent, whether they know it or not.
The key to losing weight and keeping it off is to understand the role that unresolved emotions play in your habits and your health. If you use food as a way to deal with stress and anxiety, here are some steps you can take to overcome emotional eating:
- Find Your Triggers: Spend some time thinking about events in your past that make you sad or anxious. Realize what is going on in your own mind that is triggering you to want to do the emotional eating. Recognizing these triggers is half the battle.
- Journal Foods & Feelings: Write down not only what you are eating but also what you are thinking and feeling at the time. What was the underlying emotion that prompted you to eat that entire bowl of chips or carton of ice cream? Understanding the relationship is key to breaking bad habits.
- Develop a Strategy: Create a plan for how you will respond the next time you are tempted to overeat. Here’s one simple idea: Wear a rubber band around your wrist and when you feel the urge to eat what you know you shouldn't, snap it against your wrist to help you "snap out of" the underlying emotion that’s driving you to eat.
- Exercise Daily: Too busy to work out? No excuses! Find a way to work exercise into your daily chores. Challenge yourself to get the whole house cleaned in half the normal time, and you'll work up a sweat with all the scrubbing and running from room to room.
- Talk More, Eat Less! When you go out to eat with friends, come prepared with stories to tell so you talk more. As a result, you’ll inevitably eat more slowly. Eat your salad first so you fill up on live food instead of the sugary and fattening stuff. Remember your body's needs and respect them.
- Find and Released Trapped Emotions: Get a free copy of The Emotion Code ebook and audiobook by visiting www.EmotionCodeGift.com, or download The Emotion Code app to your phone to read about how to clear trapped emotions. For instance, you can learn how to do the Sway Test to see if you have a trapped emotion that is contributing to your eating the wrong foods or too much food for comfort. You can empower yourself to improve your health by clearing trapped emotions.
The next time you feel sadness, anger or frustration, remember that you have control over your emotional state. Emotions don’t choose you — you choose your emotions in every situation — and you can un-choose them.
Start by taking a look within. When you identify and release trapped emotions, they will no longer exert control over your habits, and you’ll find it easier to make healthier choices — eating when your body is hungry rather than when your soul needs comfort.
About Dr. Bradley Nelson: A holistic Chiropractic Physician and Medical Intuitive, Dr. Bradley Nelson is one of the world’s foremost experts in the emerging fields of Bioenergetic Medicine and Energy Psychology. He has certified thousands of practitioners worldwide in helping people overcome unresolved anger, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and other negative emotions and their associated physical symptoms. His bestselling book, "The Emotion Code," provides step-by-step instructions for working with the body's healing power. Download a free copy of the ebook and the audiobook by visiting www.EmotionCodeGift.com.
Author and international lecturer in bio-energetic medicine and energy psychology, Dr. Brad has successfully used The Emotion Code with thousands of patients around the globe to relieve symptoms and often effect cures in conditions ranging from depression to cancer. His best-selling book, The [...]