We’ve been conditioned externally by a vast, ever-growing, and ever-hungry giant that has a huge and relentless impact on all of our senses, not just hunger - the media.
Many food companies (especially mass-produced fast food companies) use the media as a way to make us believe that their particular kind of food and lifestyle will make us HAPPY. Up until recent years, there was little to no emphasis placed on understanding the link between our food and our happiness - it just assumed that bright colors and catchy ad campaigns would satisfy our need to fit in and eat to follow the trend.
In terms of how this external presentation affects our mental health, however, the media has a direct impact on how we view our eating habits and more importantly, our bodies.
Think about it. If we’re being told that eating a Big Mac or a Happy Meal will quite literally ‘make us happy,’ then surely we’re going to believe it and buy as many as often as we can!? Not only is this mass-produced and processed food unhealthy for our bodies, but it’s being presented to us in a way that is mentally unhealthy, too.
Add to this equation the FREQUENCY of the mixed messages coming from every angle and it’s no wonder we lose touch with our senses, forgetting to listen to and satiate our body’s natural needs and hunger cues.
While we know it’s more likely we will consume more food if our attention is diverted elsewhere - tv, social media, etc, - it’s interesting to consider if it is to blame for emotional eating, too?
Have you ever stopped to think if your social media feeds are supporting your goals? Or could they actually be sabotaging them?
Take this test below: Have you felt any of the below after reading others’ updates?
Low Self Esteem
If you answered “yes!” to any of them…know that you’re SO not alone!
Check out this livestream on how to tell if you're hungry or bored!
What can we do?
Getting to know your triggers is KEY if you are to ever overcome (or at least manage) your emotional eating. There are no specific outlines as to what an individual’s triggers can be as everyone experiences different things, so it can often also be hard to gage when/how a stress-eater will be triggered to binge.
For this reason, I’d recommend taking time while you try to gain control of your eating habits to focus solely on YOU. No matter how tempting it might be to surround yourself with people all the time in order to hide your eating issue - or the opposite, complete isolation - the solution to stress-eating will not be found in either extreme.
It’s by becoming comfortable eating when you need to, as much as you need to, and stopping at that, slowly beginning to trust yourself around food again. Trusting your body and the signals it’s giving, and really listening for once instead of numbing pain or other complicated emotions with FOOD.
In the end, avoiding stress-eating and learning to nourish yourself with balanced, satiating meals is definitely easier said than done, and you may still slip up from time to time. Busy schedules and unpredictable meal plans happen, but the important thing to be aware of is that this is perfectly natural.
Not everyone eats 100% healthy, 100% of the time.
By providing your body with balanced, regular, portion-controlled meals, you’ll begin to gain control of your eating patterns and more importantly, to recognize when you have thoughts or emotions that would previously have resulted in a stress-eating session.
The battle against any food-related issues is not one that can be fought once, and never again. Rather, it’s a series of decisions made over and over again, meal after meal, and hunger cue after hunger cue. Maintaining awareness surrounding your tendencies and habits as you continue to engage with your food is the most mindful way to achieve balance in your eating habits.
This can be particularly difficult surrounding elements, environments, or people in your life that may previously have contributed to the stress-eating triggers, so it’s vital that you acknowledge these for what they are and make steps to reduce or remove them.
What triggers or stressors in your life can you start to remove today?
Taking the reins in regard to stress eating is doing more than just ensuring your continued physical health, it’s taking control of your mental health, too. When you start to consider the connection between the thoughts you’re having - anxiety, stress, sadness - and how they’re affecting your body - discomfort, indigestion and stomach issues - stress eating can seem like a vast and all-encompassing issue.
But just as you can change your mind one thought at a time, you can change the way you relate to food one BITE at a time.
Through mindful eating, journalling, food prepping, speaking openly about your issues, and acknowledging triggers for what they are, you CAN and WILL see an improvement.
Striving for balance and not perfection is some of the best advice I’ve ever received, and being aware that recovery is not linear is also a humbling realization.
Allow yourself to struggle and find it difficult at first, just be aware that it DOES get easier. Try to forget all previous periods of stress-eating, and start fresh beginning with your next meal.
This topic can be sensitive to people, so I want to check in with how you’re feeling after everything we’ve discussed today.
Overwhelmed? Inspired? Ready to tackle this once and for all?!
I’d love to know if there’s anything you’ve found particularly of interest/help!! Comment below and I will answer any of your questions!
Much Love Suzanne
For More on Ending Your Emotional Eating.....check out my email coaching program to find your triggers, become more mindful and conquer your emotional eating! Click Image Below
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