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Always Eating? Part 3: Coping With Emotions

This is the final blog in a three-part series. My last two blogs focused on nutrition and self-care, check them out if you’re interested.

I can’t stop eating….I’m always eating.

I am continuing to unpack the common situation of always eating. To do this, we have to look at the interplay between nutrition, self-care, and coping with emotions. Today I will look at my favorite topic which is coping with emotions without using food.

Eating has an emotional component. Much of the time food has emotional associations such as birthday cakes, wedding cakes, food offered as consolation for grieving families. There is nothing wrong with self-soothing with food at times, but other coping skills are needed as well.

The following is a list of emotions that may be heightened in this time of pandemic.

Self-Check: Do you use food to meet emotional needs?

  • Anxiety- Do you use food to calm yourself?
  • Excitement- Do you use food to create excitement and brighten your day?
  • Loneliness-Do you use food as a friend?
  • Frustration-Do you use food as a release?
  • Anger- Do you use food as a release?
  • Stress- Do you use food for relief?
  • Need for comfort- Do you use food to self-soothe?

Think about it:

Evelyn Tribole MS, RDN (intuitive eating.org) introduces two essential questions to ask yourself when the urge to eat arises with no physical sensations of hunger. The genius is in their simplicity!

  • What are you feeling now?
  • What do you need now to deal with your feelings?

Try this:

  • If you need a distraction from your feelings, some ideas are watching a movie or reading a magazine.
  • If you need support, some ideas are calling or texting a friend, reaching out to a spiritual advisor such as a priest, rabbi, or minister. Talking to a therapist is another idea.
  • If you need self-care, some ideas are taking a nap, setting limits, unplugging technology.
  • You can also deal directly with the feeling by sitting with the feeling, examining the thought that leads to the feeling or talking to a therapist.

Here are some resources for dealings with feelings: self-compassion.org & headspace.com

You may also enjoy:

Five Tips to Eat Smart When Working from Home

How Practicing Gratitude May Benefit Your Health

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