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Crush Cravings and End Emotional Eating

Crush Cravings and End Emotional Eating

We demonstrate the love we have, or do not have, for ourselves by our actions. When we eat in unhealthy ways this is not an act of self-love. Marianne Williamson in a Course in Weight Loss actually calls it an “act of violence” that we do to ourselves.

So often we feel food calls to us and that we are not the ones in control. This is generally because of two things: 1) cravings or 2) emotional eating. These two things can be intertwined but for now let’s look at each separately.

Cravings

While cravings can be emotionally based they can also be a real physical reaction in the body. A real physical craving will often feel like “feed me know before I rip your head off” (talk about an act of violence) and is a big indication that you just have not eaten for a while.

Physical cravings are a great tool as they can be a way to let us know what our body needs. When we are in balance and eating healthy foods we may have a craving for something sweet because our blood sugar is starting to drop and our body knows sugary foods will give us a short term energy boost. We can crave other foods like tomatoes or blueberries for example because of the antioxidants in them. Or we may crave meat because we need protein to build our muscles.

Unfortunately right now the changes are we are NOT in balance. Therefore we must question our cravings. Our bodies do not need candy or soda unless you are at risk of going into diabetic shock, but our bodies do need fuel to give us energy and if we have trained it through our past habits to associate candy or soda with energy then we will reach for that false fuel. Our bodies will react positively to this stimulant in the short-term and pleasure hormones are released when we eat them so we reinforce this mental association.

What this means to you is that cravings are not all in your head! There is a real physical reaction that makes the habit of grabbing a cup of coffee and Danish or a Coke and Snickers bar just as hard to give up as quitting smoking. That’s not an excuse to give up—it is something you can overcome. It is just time to acknowledge that facts because if you don’t admit that your body chemistry is out of whack then you will conclude you don’t have willpower or that you are weak or stupid! None of which is an accurate picture of what is going on and those thoughts will not serve you.

“Know thy enemy” in order to succeed on your weight loss journey!

The best way to get our bodies back into balance and defeat cravings is to get our blood sugar at a healthy level and keep it as level as possible. Unless you are a diabetic then you don’t need a fancy machine to check your levels.

“Sugar” in the form of glucose is the only fuel the brain uses, but that doesn’t mean you have to ingest sugar. Our bodies are incredible factories that convert food into the components that our brain, muscles and organs need.

Your body breaks down glycogen stored in your liver into glucose and then the blood stream delivers that glucose to both your brain and your muscles. Your body also breaks down foods into amino acids and fats that we need to function at our optimum levels. Our job is to eat healthy foods that can be broken down into these ingredients. Our bodies can’t effectively deal with an over abundance of any of these ingredients, especially sugar. Eating sugar (not fat) is the primary cause for the fat we have on our bodies.

By eating protein either in the form of lean meats or from vegetarian sources we provide our bodies with essential amino acids. Cutting out all fats will not increase your fat loss. Eating healthy fats actually helps our bodies to lose unhealthy fat, lubricates our joints and makes our skin softer. What about that important glucose? We get all that we need by eating complex carbohydrates, including fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Eating small meals (think of mini-meals or snacks) four-six times a day instead of one, two or three larger meals keeps our body’s furnace stoked so we operate more efficiently. Our blood sugar remains more stable so we have fewer cravings and energy dips. Even if we eat the exact same number of calories we can sometimes lose weight just by dividing our meals into these smaller, more frequent servings.

This month practice loving yourself by taking the time to get your body chemistry into balance. Start by eating at least 4 times a day, with small portions that include some lean protein.

Emotional Eating

We also feel like we are having cravings, when it is really an emotional reaction. When you feel like food is calling your name…that’s not a physical sensation but an emotional response to some stimuli. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a strong pull, but it may mean that you don’t need to eat at all. It also explains when eating carrot sticks instead of chocolate chip cookies just doesn’t cut it. With emotional eating we really can’t eat to please our body—because it isn’t our body that is calling for the food.

Grabbing food unconsciously is one type of emotional eating. Certainly stuffing down large quantities of food, whether it is healthy food or not, is an emotional response. Any time we are eating in secret then we are eating for emotional reasons, not because our body is in need of food—at least not that kind of food.

The best way to counter emotional eating is to become aware that it is happening through a journal. Make it something that you can carry with you. It doesn’t have to be large. It can be digital or paper and pen…whatever works for you. Throughout the day write down when you have the urge to eat and write down when you feel any strong emotions. Also write down things that come up that, especially if you remember them or play them over in your mind. Sometimes we don’t realize that our emotions are stirred up because we have not given ourselves permission to feel “negative” sensations like anger, hurt, sadness, powerlessness or frustration. Instead of feeling them and expressing them in healthy ways we have numbed ourselves with our food drug of choice. For me it is ice cream (I’m better but I don’t claim to be “cured”) for you it might be chips or cookies or bread or meat or…

The minute you find yourself reaching for that comfort food, or in the midst of eating it, stop and take a few minutes to look at your journal. Write down what you are eating and look back over your day. Was there something that happened that triggered this reaction?

Keep this journal for at least this month. If you find that you are eating for emotional reasons then keep it longer. You can go back to your journal at any time.

By recognizing when we are triggered to overeat we can then make healthier choices. Do you overeat because you someone criticized you at work? Do you feel powerless? Are you unhappy? Can you express your anger without diving into a bowl of ice cream?

Learning to express our feelings safely, in an appropriate way is the next step to freeing ourselves from the bondage of emotional eating.

For this month, love yourself enough to track your emotions and your eating responses.

Supplemental Resource

A Course in Weight Loss, Marianne Williamson

We demonstrate the love we have, or do not have, for ourselves by our actions. When we eat in unhealthy ways this is not an act of self-love. Marianne Williamson in a Course in Weight Loss actually calls it an “act of violence” that we do to ourselves.

So often we feel food calls to us and that we are not the ones in control. This is generally because of two things: 1) cravings or 2) emotional eating. These two things can be intertwined but for now let’s look at each separately.

Cravings

While cravings can be emotionally based they can also be a real physical reaction in the body. A real physical craving will often feel like “feed me know before I rip your head off” (talk about an act of violence) and is a big indication that you just have not eaten for a while.

Physical cravings are a great tool as they can be a way to let us know what our body needs. When we are in balance and eating healthy foods we may have a craving for something sweet because our blood sugar is starting to drop and our body knows sugary foods will give us a short term energy boost. We can crave other foods like tomatoes or blueberries for example because of the antioxidants in them. Or we may crave meat because we need protein to build our muscles.

Unfortunately right now the changes are we are NOT in balance. Therefore we must question our cravings. Our bodies do not need candy or soda unless you are at risk of going into diabetic shock, but our bodies do need fuel to give us energy and if we have trained it through our past habits to associate candy or soda with energy then we will reach for that false fuel. Our bodies will react positively to this stimulant in the short-term and pleasure hormones are released when we eat them so we reinforce this mental association.

What this means to you is that cravings are not all in your head! There is a real physical reaction that makes the habit of grabbing a cup of coffee and Danish or a Coke and Snickers bar just as hard to give up as quitting smoking. That’s not an excuse to give up—it is something you can overcome. It is just time to acknowledge that facts because if you don’t admit that your body chemistry is out of whack then you will conclude you don’t have willpower or that you are weak or stupid! None of which is an accurate picture of what is going on and those thoughts will not serve you.

“Know thy enemy” in order to succeed on your weight loss journey!

The best way to get our bodies back into balance and defeat cravings is to get our blood sugar at a healthy level and keep it as level as possible. Unless you are a diabetic then you don’t need a fancy machine to check your levels.

“Sugar” in the form of glucose is the only fuel the brain uses, but that doesn’t mean you have to ingest sugar. Our bodies are incredible factories that convert food into the components that our brain, muscles and organs need.

Your body breaks down glycogen stored in your liver into glucose and then the blood stream delivers that glucose to both your brain and your muscles. Your body also breaks down foods into amino acids and fats that we need to function at our optimum levels. Our job is to eat healthy foods that can be broken down into these ingredients. Our bodies can’t effectively deal with an over abundance of any of these ingredients, especially sugar. Eating sugar (not fat) is the primary cause for the fat we have on our bodies.

By eating protein either in the form of lean meats or from vegetarian sources we provide our bodies with essential amino acids. Cutting out all fats will not increase your fat loss. Eating healthy fats actually helps our bodies to lose unhealthy fat, lubricates our joints and makes our skin softer. What about that important glucose? We get all that we need by eating complex carbohydrates, including fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Eating small meals (think of mini-meals or snacks) four-six times a day instead of one, two or three larger meals keeps our body’s furnace stoked so we operate more efficiently. Our blood sugar remains more stable so we have fewer cravings and energy dips. Even if we eat the exact same number of calories we can sometimes lose weight just by dividing our meals into these smaller, more frequent servings.

This month practice loving yourself by taking the time to get your body chemistry into balance. Start by eating at least 4 times a day, with small portions that include some lean protein.

Emotional Eating

We also feel like we are having cravings, when it is really an emotional reaction. When you feel like food is calling your name…that’s not a physical sensation but an emotional response to some stimuli. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a strong pull, but it may mean that you don’t need to eat at all. It also explains when eating carrot sticks instead of chocolate chip cookies just doesn’t cut it. With emotional eating we really can’t eat to please our body—because it isn’t our body that is calling for the food.

Grabbing food unconsciously is one type of emotional eating. Certainly stuffing down large quantities of food, whether it is healthy food or not, is an emotional response. Any time we are eating in secret then we are eating for emotional reasons, not because our body is in need of food—at least not that kind of food.

The best way to counter emotional eating is to become aware that it is happening through a journal. Make it something that you can carry with you. It doesn’t have to be large. It can be digital or paper and pen…whatever works for you. Throughout the day write down when you have the urge to eat and write down when you feel any strong emotions. Also write down things that come up that, especially if you remember them or play them over in your mind. Sometimes we don’t realize that our emotions are stirred up because we have not given ourselves permission to feel “negative” sensations like anger, hurt, sadness, powerlessness or frustration. Instead of feeling them and expressing them in healthy ways we have numbed ourselves with our food drug of choice. For me it is ice cream (I’m better but I don’t claim to be “cured”) for you it might be chips or cookies or bread or meat or…

The minute you find yourself reaching for that comfort food, or in the midst of eating it, stop and take a few minutes to look at your journal. Write down what you are eating and look back over your day. Was there something that happened that triggered this reaction?

Keep this journal for at least this month. If you find that you are eating for emotional reasons then keep it longer. You can go back to your journal at any time.

By recognizing when we are triggered to overeat we can then make healthier choices. Do you overeat because you someone criticized you at work? Do you feel powerless? Are you unhappy? Can you express your anger without diving into a bowl of ice cream?

Learning to express our feelings safely, in an appropriate way is the next step to freeing ourselves from the bondage of emotional eating.

For this month, love yourself enough to track your emotions and your eating responses.

Supplemental Resource

<LINK> A Course in Weight Loss, Marianne Williamson

Hay House, Inc - 180x150

Best-selling author Marianne Williamson answers the question, “What is the connection between spirituality and weight loss” with 21 spiritual lessons.

Williamson book is not for any one “religion” but is not for anyone who doesn’t believe in some sort of higher power or universal consciousness.

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