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LESS CONVENTIONAL STRATEGY TO COMBAT STRESS/EMOTIONAL EATING (8/27/22)

WHY WE OVEREAT:


-Eating feels good (making it easier to forget uncomfortable situations)


-Food is used to solve a problem that food can’t solve (temporary fix)

-Feeling guilty & trapped afterwards typically leads to an addictive loop

KEYS TO CONQEOUR OVEREATING:


1.) Pin-point triggers


2.) Develop tools/strategies to combat triggers


3.) Accept that behavior related to food does NOT define you



UNORTHODOX STRATEGY:


A.) Give yourself permission to overeat


- An (uncomfortable) experiment that provides learning experience


- Document how you feel prior, during & afterwards (“Behavior Awareness” sheet)


- Triggers will be recognized but most importantly, guilt/shame will be lessened over time


- If you are allowed to overeat, it won’t feel as urgent/attractive (“forbidden fruit” analogy)

- Hopefully intense cravings become less significant over time

- Be neutral as possible & simply act like a scientist collecting data

- Review “data”, pin-point trigger & decide if you can change or avoid the situation in the future



B.) “Break the Chain”


- Simply list 5-10 activities that can serve as a “pause” prior to eating and follow through

- Focus on actions that fit your goals and values


  • If you make it through your list & still want the snack, go for it but treat it like a meal (measure it out in a bowl/plate etc)

  • Track how often you use this list in-order to notice trends of what is working and what’s not while also keeping track of progress

Examples:

  • Take 3 deep breaths

  • Drink large glass of water

  • Mentally check for signs of physical hunger

  • Set a timer and play w/ pet for five minutes

  • Stretch 5 minutes

  • Listen to a song

  • Walk 5 minutes

  • House work 5 minutes

  • Call or text friend

  • Journal (write 3 emotions you feel)

  • Eat serving vegetables prior to any snacking


3.) Defeat the negative self-talk


“Oh, here I go again.”


“I know better yet I continue to do this to myself.”


“I’m a failure”


  • Negative self-talk may actually release dopamine that makes us feel good (involved w/ habit formation & addiction)

  • Self-compassion can help reduce the “screw it” feeling that happens directly before overeating

  • Give yourself a break, be honest and see the big picture, be KIND to yourself

  • Mindfulness: Being aware of what you are doing, thinking, feeling and experiencing yet not judging yourself

  • Acknowledge that you aren’t alone & there are many others w/ the same struggle

  • Self-compassion is all about removing the guilt associated w/ stress eating as the guilt often leads to continued stress eating


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