When you think of emotional eating, do you picture a female crying into a tub of ice cream? Or a person hogging the couch with popcorn, soda, cheese puffs, and pizza with sad movies on the TV?
That is certainly one aspect of emotional eating, but what about the happier side? Don’t we celebrate with food too? We have parties and holidays that usually revolve around cakes, cookies and candy. These things can be tradition and that is okay, but you have to learn to have control over your food, instead of it having control over you.
The best way to ditch that emotional attachment to food, whether it comforts you when you’re sad, mad, or even happy, is to start viewing it differently. View food as fuel for your body because that is exactly what it is. There is some responsibility that comes with this mental shift, such as taking the time to learn about the fuel you put in your body, but it is certainly worth the time and effort. Knowledge is power. This knowledge doesn’t have to be biochemistry… it can simply be learning your body signals and paying attention to how you respond to certain foods.
When you walk into a birthday party and it seems that the cake is just a magnet pulling you in and you have to have a piece (or two… or three!), the food has power over you. How do you overcome this?
Ask yourself questions like:
- What is that cake made of? Does it have processed sugar, inflammatory oils, or wheat/grains in it?
- What will this cake do for my body?
- When was the last time I had a piece of cake? How did it make me feel?
- Can I deal with the physical and emotional symptoms I may get from eating this cake today?
You can then make an educated decision on whether to have a treat or to skip it because you are in control, not the food.
When you start looking at food as fuel for your body each day and learn your body signals, you’ll realize you start to “crowd-out” the junk. You won’t have room for the stuff that works against you anymore because your diet is full of real foods that make you feel and look your best. During that time, major changes will take place and you may find yourself without strong cravings and better mental clarity which will only help with ditching any emotional attachment to foods.