Working with hundreds of women over my 20+ years in the wellness industry, I see one thing in common – emotional eating; eating out of stress, anxiety, boredom, sadness, anger, etc. etc. etc is always listed as one of the top 3 issues facing them; issues they hope to improve.
And no doubt, NOW is a stressful time, move than ever. Have you been drinking more wine than usual? Perhaps reaching for Ben & Jerry’s more often than not? Maybe even doing both? What about zoning out to the TV or tinkering the time away watching TV, playing video games or scrolling through social media?
No doubt, some wine and ice cream sounds like a killer combo, right? And in the short term, the “fix” may even seem to boost your mood, ever so slightly, for just an even smaller amount of time.
Sorry to say, SIS, this strategy of reaching for “feel good comfort” foods is not a successful strategy to cope with real emotions. Instead, this emo eating is directly embedded in a habit that was cultivated out of that emo feeling. The habit has now stuck leaving many tying to figure out how to hack that very habit they’ve created. And sad to say, mostly, they settle for eating MORE, drinking MORE, tuning out MORE because that’s the only way they know how to “chase the high” or to rather “quiet the noise.”
The brain works off of a work-reward system. Usually, you’ll feel like X so you decide you will eat tons of Y. The brain is smart. Eventually every time you feel like X, you’ll immediately CRAVE Y, like the dog salivating at the bell in that famous Pavlov’s study.
Food is an unconditioned stimulus and CRAVING is a conditioned response. Caving to the craving then leads to new learned behavior that becomes hard-wired.
So what do you do? This is not something to be fixed in a day, in a week, heck maybe not even a month. In order to hack the habit, you must change the craving. In order to change the craving, you must make a detour: when you feel like X, you must find another method that replaces you usually eating or drinking your craving. Yep, I know, it’s not sexy, but it’s a process that requires slowly retraining your brain and thinking. It starts in your mind.
Watch my video below for some true stress relieving activities that are proven to work (they actually make you feel better, not worse). And if this brain-science based eating excites you, be sure to subscribe to my bi-weekly newsletter where I cover all topics food, fitness, mindset and everything in between.