When’s the last time when your emotions were running high and you just needed one of your favorite foods to manage the emotions that you were having? We eat food for all sorts of different emotions, but eating isn’t the best way to handle your emotions. So in this post, I’m going to share with you 3 strategies to end emotional eating for good!
What Do You Mean Emotional Eating
Emotional eating is a complex issue and it’s hard to stop. Many of us are turning to food for all of the things that we should be turning to God for and, as believers, we know God is supposed to be our source of comfort, our source of security, our source of safety. God is our provider, he is our healer. God is all that we need and yet many of us are turning to food instead of turning to God for all of those deep emotions that we feel.
Today I want to share with you three really powerful strategies that you can implement to end emotional eating. Emotional eating is not beneficial; it’s actually hurting you.
Emotional Eating Triggers
First, let’s take a look at some of the signs and triggers for emotional eating.
UGGG…I just need to stop at the gas station and run in to get that chocolate bar …after all – I deserve it! The stress is just too much for me to handle right now.
Maybe you can relate to this. Maybe your crutch is going through the drive-thru or the donut place, or the ________ (fill in the blank).
In our culture today we eat when we feel happy, sad, bored, lonely, angry, or STRESSED!
When you think about a birthday party, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably – Birthday CAKE. You certainly don’t want to miss out on that! So eating when you celebrate a birthday is eating when you’re feeling happy.
We most definitely eat when we are sad. My father just recently passed away, and most of us turned to food for comfort. What happens when we are sad? We eat comfort foods like sweets and cookies or whatever helps to relieve the sadness in the moment.
Think about the last time you had an argument or a fight with your spouse or co-worker! What did you run to immediately to make you feel better? Was it chips? Chocolate? We usually eat when we have mad or angry feelings.
We eat when we are anxious…we pace around the kitchen opening cupboard doors, opening the fridge and seeing what we can get our hands onto to feed our feelings.
We are turning to food for just about every emotion that we can come up with and we are not helping our goal to reclaim our health or our weight. There is a BETTER way!
What Signs Of Emotional Eating Do You Resonate With The Most?
Do you resonate mostly with eating happy emotions, like when you’re celebrating with food?
Do you resonate most with the sad emotions, where you’re sad and lonely and food is your friend? You know, where you eat like the whole tub of ice cream!
Do you resonate most with the depressed or angry emotions, where you’re headed to the junk food cupboard to scarf down whatever you find because you’ve just had enough!
Which emotion do you recognize in yourself? Maybe you’ve never even thought of this before, and now you’re thinking…oh wow…that’s exactly what I do!
This might be a real wake-up call for you. You never knew you were an emotional eater before and you’re mind-boggled right now.
3 Strategies To End Emotional Eating
You probably know by now that our mission is to help transform the lives of Christian women so that we can reclaim our health and reclaim our weight and stop living a defeated life.
Our mission is to help you live a happy, healthy life filled with purpose so that you can use the gifts and talents that God has given specifically to you. We want to help you gain back the confidence within yourself so you can be the person God created you to be.
So let’s get to the 3 strategies that will help you end emotional eating. The first one is pretty simple, but it’s not always easy. In fact, they’re all simple but not easy because what’s easy is to head straight to the food!
Strategy 1 To End Emotional Eating
We need to bring our feelings and our emotions to God first. The Bible talks about how we need to cast all our cares on Him, for He cares for us.
We think about that as if we were out fishing. It’s like casting your fishing line out into the water. You want that line to go way out there; it’s not just a gentle little motion. That’s like throwing it as hard as we can to get it far away from us.
Cast your cares down before God because He cares for you. If it’s big enough to be on your mind and on your heart then it’s big enough to bring to God! I even want to take that a step further. When you have big feelings, whether they’re happy feelings or whether they’re sad feelings, whether they’re lonely feelings or whether they are angry feelings, whatever it is that you’re dealing with, those big deep emotions, we often don’t even know how to verbalize what we’re feeling.
Write It Down
I want to encourage you that when you are bringing your feelings to God, take it one step further and write it down. This may seem like an extra chore to you, but it’s so very helpful. You could type it on your computer, you could write it on a piece of paper, text it on your phone, but it’s a very good idea to get it written down.
Why, you ask? Because when we learn how to put language to how we’re truly feeling, it will help us process our feelings better. Part of the processing is learning to put language to it because sometimes we don’t even know how we’re feeling. We don’t even have the words, and the more that we can potentially dig in the dirt, and think about what it is that we’re feeling, it helps us to process what’s actually going on in our minds. So I would strongly encourage you to write it down.
Once you’ve done this, if you don’t want to keep it because you don’t want somebody to see it, just rip it up into shreds or you could even burn it. If it’s on your computer you can just delete it.
Processing the feelings helps us understand ourselves a bit better and when we bring it to God it’s done with intention. You can even pray through your thoughts and commune with God while you’re writing.
Learning to feel your feelings rather than feed your feelings is going to help you reclaim your health and your weight.
Strategy 2 To End Emotional Eating
The second strategy to end emotional eating is to actually feel how you’re feeling. This sounds too simple, but it’s probably going to be more difficult than you think. Yet it’s very powerful! Feel your emotions. Acknowledge your emotions and then surrender them to God.
If you’re feeling lonely and bored and dissatisfied with your life, like I was not that long ago, and continually going to food rather than actually letting yourself feel, then you’re covering up and pushing down your emotions which is actually very hard on your mental wellness.
God Gave Us Emotions For A Reason.
Sometimes you’re going to want to cry; sometimes you’re going to have to let out the celebratory screams of excitement, jump up and down for joy, or maybe you’re going to do the happy dance. I don’t know what you’re going to go through with feeling your emotions, but learning how to actually feel those feelings rather than just going straight to food is a process.
So get ready to feel: learn how to cry, sometimes you’ll laugh, sometimes you’ll have to go and exercise to process what you are truly feeling. But learning how to actually feel your feelings requires that you’re willing to be vulnerable even with yourself!
It’s hard to be vulnerable with ourselves because we’re trying to convince ourselves that those feelings aren’t really there. We’re trying to cover them up.
I like the analogy of digging in the dirt. When we plant flowers or vegetables in the spring, we have to dig in the dirt. Our hands get dirty. Those feelings might be a bit messy, but we have to really dig deep to figure out what’s actually going on behind the scenes.
Once we have done that, we will have a release that is very freeing… Sometimes it will help to go and exercise, especially if you are working through feelings of anger or bitterness.
Other times, laughter is a great way to get release. It’s another way of getting rid of tension, kind of like crying, it’s a huge emotional release and it feels so good. Laughter is the best medicine, the Bible speaks of it and it is a healthy form of emotional release.
Feeling our emotions is not a sinful action. You may have thought in the past that angry feelings are sinful, but how we react to the feelings are what gets us in trouble. The feelings are real, and we need to take them to God. We can take our thoughts captive and help our mental wellness as we deal with our emotional issues in communion with God.
We believe God gave us these beautiful emotional release techniques so that we can actually feel and process our feelings.
Strategy 3 To End Emotional Eating
The third strategy that I want to share with you to help you end emotional eating is to stop with the All Or Nothing Thinking!
Here’s a scenario. You’re feeling very stressed out or anxious and you’ve just headed to the junk food cupboard. You then think to yourself…Well, I guess I screwed it all up again, so I might as well just ditch all my good decisions. I’m ready to ditch it all right now. I just can’t deal with this any longer. Right now I feel like binging so I will. I’m just not going to think about my progress; I just need some junk to calm me down.
We forget that it’s about progress, not perfection! We have this ability to think only about our need for chocolate or ice cream at the moment and we are pushing all the good habits out of our heads.
This is emotional eating right to the core. We need to learn how to end emotional eating – that all or nothing thinking, because that’s just keeping us in an emotional eating downward spiral that never stops.
The Downward Spiral
Here’s what happens. You are feeling stressed or anxious so you head to the food to eat. That food makes you feel better for about a minute, and then you start to feel guilt and shame over your food binging because you’ve gone and done all this emotional eating that you know you’re trying not to do! You’ve been trying to be healthy and reclaim your weight and now you’ve blown it again.
You make a few good decisions and then you blow it. Next the guilt and shame cycle starts and you spiral down even farther, where every time it gets harder and harder to pick yourself up again. The emotional eating hamster wheel is a real thing.
So many women find themselves in this hamster wheel and are ready to give up and stay in the victim mentality and this defeats them even more.
We Are Not Defeated
The devil wants to bring us down. He knows where we are weak, and his desire is to keep us feeling guilt and shame because we then become paralyzed with moving forward in the purpose God has designed for us. When we are stuck in a rut, we can’t move forward and that’s exactly where the devil wants us.
But…we are more than conquerors. We are not defeated. We have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us and we can move forward.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:37-39 (NIV)
Let’s decide right here and now to take these 3 strategies on how to end emotional eating and put them into practice. Let’s make the next decision count!
Don’t get stuck in the all or nothing thinking and let it spiral you further downward.
Using These 3 Strategies To End Emotional Eating For Good
Use these 3 strategies:
- Bring it before God and write it down.
- Learn how to actually feel your feelings rather than feeding them.
- Stop with the All or nothing thinking and just recognize that it’s about progress, not perfection.
If you’ve fallen off the wagon lately, please know that you can get back up again. You can carry on. You can keep going.
This is not a journey of perfection; it’s a journey of progress. It’s a journey of continuous learning to keep surrendering all of your emotions to God and allowing yourself to be vulnerable with Him.
If you have fallen down, it is possible to get up again. The Bible says that All things are Possible through Christ, and that includes letting go of emotional eating. There is a way out of every temptation, and we need to use God’s wisdom over our own will power so that we will win the race.
You can do it! We BELIEVE in You. If you don’t believe in yourself, join our community and let us believe in you until your mind is convinced that you can do it.
5 Step Decision-Making Guide
If you’re looking to lose weight and you don’t even know where to start, we have created this five-step decision-making guide to help you logically think through the process of eating, which can sometimes help to take the emotional charge out of your feelings immediately. It changes your focus and helps you think about your food decision in a more logical manner.
You can grab your free copy of the download right here at https://www.ShouldIEatThat.com
These 5 questions will serve you well if you use them and it’s a perfect way to start if you’re overwhelmed and not knowing where to start.
So until next time, make sure that you are treating your body like a temple not a trash can!
Mostly, stress eating is what I do. I try to keep healthier choices around. But, when the desire to eat chips instead of celery is to strong. I'll eat the chips. Journaling my feelings has helped me. I relate joy to journaling. It helps me to accept the things I cannot change and work on what I can.
Thanks for sharing, Maria. Yes, journaling can be so beneficial. I find that it is a great outlet for when I don’t really know how to say what I need to – I can just let it all out in my journal even if it doesn’t make much sense.
This is a wonderful blog! Thank you! I truly believe we are all emotional eaters.
I tend to give in to emotional eating when I'm trying to relax. I don't watch TV during the day so when I sit down in the evenings to relax and let the stresses of the day kind of fall off of my shoulders, it's then that I want to eat salty snacks or chocolate. It feels soooo comforting and soothing. The only other time I do alot of emotional eating is after something very stressful has happened and when finally that ordeal is over, I eat to sort of celebrate that it's over. Having not eaten during the ordeal, I find myself excusing my eating afterwards. Messed up!!!
I also am 100% the all or nothing type. I goof up once and then I keep on goofing up. Getting off that hampster wheel feels nearly impossible!! It's so difficult to stop that behavior.
I know I can never fail because I'll never stop trying. Turning to God is THE one and only true solution. Now, to just be mindful to always do just that.
Thanks for your kind words and for sharing Jane! It’s so difficult, but it is possible! Glad you know that 🙂
I’m definitely an emotional eater, in all of the above mentioned areas! It seems lately,though, it’s mostly from boredom or an idyl mind.
I need to give it to God and even write down these emotions. When I’m tired, after work, I need to pick up my Bible and let God speak to me.
Thank you for the thoughts.
Thanks for sharing, Nadine! It can definitely be difficult, especially if your mind is bored or idle like you said!