Do you sometimes eat even if you’re not hungry?
Have you ever felt so emotional that the only thing that calms you down is putting food inside you? And more often than not in bigger amounts than you really need?
Did you ever feel so helpless about this whole situation, without knowing how to get out of it?
Well, me too. But I have good news : you can get rid of this !
Before diving into the concrete solutions to this issue, let’s clarify a couple of things about the nature of our relation to food.
First of all, we all know that we need food to survive. This is something that can’t be denied. The thing we talk less about is that we consume way more than we really need and that a lot of our eating habits are social and emotional.
In this context, food is not only an addiction; it’s a very vicious one. This is because other addictions aren’t that inherently necessary to our lives. You can’t help emotional eating by “just” stopping eating. So, how and where to draw the line?
What I would like to share with you through this article are some insights, tips & tricks that helped me setting up a more balanced relationship to food. I can say that the journey hasn’t been easy all the time but that it got very quickly rewarding and that it was not as hard as I thought it would be before starting the process. Today, I can say that I got completely used to eat reasonable amounts of food, stopped snacking, and, as a bonus, gained back my ideal weight.
I was the typical kind of person who, when emotional, upset or bored, would just start binge eating (often in front of a binge watched tv show). I got to the point where I would get to the store to buy some sweets at night, eat an excessive quantity in front of a movie and eventually end up crying and hating myself for eating too much. I would keep eating, even when my stomach was so full it hurt, because I was trying to fill a never-ending hole inside. I came to the verge of purposefully making myself vomit. And this became my routine.
I knew that something was wrong and that I needed to transform this pattern.
I tried many things – going on diets, eating raw, limiting myself to eat on a certain schedule,… – nothing helped. Best case scenario, it would work for 2 weeks. After that I would just collapse again. I later understood that this was because my body and mind were traumatized about not having enough food; I was subconsciously perceiving these diets like punishments.
I struggled like this for years and, finally, I found the recipe that fit me:
- Deal with your emotions
Most of our eating habits are emotional and social. We carry that since generations and lifetimes. Collectively, the society dictates so much and we don’t even question that.
So, read yourself, get to know your emotions and why they are there. Psychotherapy and meditation can be of a great help here.
- Listen to yourself
When we start dealing with our emotions and understanding deeper our link to food, we see that most of the time, we aren’t actually hungry. Maybe our body is thirsty or just wants a fruit, not a whole three course meal that will make us feel tired. Maybe you will notice that you don’t feel nice when you eat too late and that you prefer waking up with an empty stomach.
Here’s a trick that you can try at anytime: when you’re in a shop, take what your brain wants to buy in your hands, and focus on your stomach. Are you usually feeling good after eating it? Is it a real need or simply a desire? If the desire is too strong, you shouldn’t repress it. But do this with awareness! 🙂
- Find external inspiration
- Research and read about other people who overcame their eating disorder.
- Collect information from various people, techniques, and theories about food, even if you don’t feel like the diet is made for you. It will help you understand nutrition facts and help you create your own routine!
- Research meal plans and try to compose one that fits you.
- Find inspiration around you. In my case, I looked over my spiritual guide. He doesn’t eat after 5 or 6 pm, after the sun sets. In the beginning this was an unachievable goal I gradually came to this point and I feel much better than before.
- Be gentle to yourself
Self-acceptance is the first rule of spirituality. Before successfully changing my way of eating, I had many tries that failed. This was because I was too harsh, putting myself in army-like situations. With time, I learned to love myself, to be full of understanding and compassion, like with a child. Concretely, I created a meal plan that was flexible enough so I wouldn’t feel hungry at any point. I made it very loose in the beginning. Step by step, I put more space between my meals and my addiction eventually vanished. I am not as hungry as before, I accept myself way more and I always eat enough – I never restrict myself when it comes to food.
By applying these few tips to your own life, it shouldn’t be more complicated for you than it was for me!
Good luck… And bon appétit!
Article by: Tea, Mohanji Acharya