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Use these 10 emotional eating tips and mindfulness meditation to learn how to control food cravings, recognize your triggers, and find more effective ways to control your feelings towards food.
Food is a basic essential that fuels the body so people can go about their day-to-day routine. But what people don’t know is that there is a correlation between food and our mental health. There’s a reason why people turn to “comfort food” when they’re feeling stressed or down the dumps.
It’s simple. Food can relieve your stress through binge eating. Although it might sound like a delicious experience, it’s not. Binge eating can lead to more frustrations and guilty feelings.
It’s a vicious cycle powered by human emotion and not physical hunger, hence, calling it “emotional eating.” So whether you’re emotional eating at home or your favorite local restaurant, it’s good to remind yourself to stop and breathe. Emotional eating isn’t good for you – physically and mentally.
Therefore, some people turn to mindful meditation if they ever feel the urge to binge eat due to stress and frustrations. And if you find yourself in this situation, read on to know more about emotional eating and how to use mindful meditation to combat it.
How to Stop Overeating Using Mindful Eating Practices
Consistently overeating can leave you feeling not well physically, more disconnected from your wants and needs, and also be a sign that you haven’t found how to practice healthy and balanced eating in your daily life. I’m going to share some of the underlying reasons you may be overeating so you can start practicing in order to navigate this and help you maintain your healthy eating habits.
What is Emotional Eating?
Emotional eating has one primary goal and that is to fill the emotional void from stress or negative emotions. People eat and crave unhealthy food such as ice cream, junk food, sweets, or fatty food to relieve their stress.
How To Stop Binge Eating And Emotional Eating Once And For All
Suffer from Binge Eating Disorder (BED) or Emotional Eating? I’ve formerly had a binge eating disorder and was able to overcome it using these steps. Learn secrets on how to stop binge eating disorder and emotional eating once and for all.
Instead of filling the stomach, people eat to make themselves feel better when they’re feeling down. However, emotional eating only makes people feel worse about themselves. That’s also due to the lack of nutrients that fuel the body and make hormones function properly.
One should be able to determine emotional hunger from physical hunger. For one, emotional eating is a sudden feeling. On the flip side, physical hunger comes at the right eating time or schedule your body is used to.
Secondly, emotional hunger leans more towards unhealthy food because of the specific cravings. Its counterpart, however, takes time to think about options, weighing various food choices.
Thirdly, emotional hunger doesn’t satisfy one’s stomach. People tend to eat and never get full. On the other hand, physical hunger fills you up physically without the need for emotional and mental validation.
Last but not least, physical hunger also makes you stronger and happier inside out. However, emotional hunger makes you guilty afterward. Although it does contribute feelings of happiness, this feeling is only temporary. It will only drive you further down that emotional void.
Common Trigger Factors of Emotional Eating
Whenever you find yourself in a sticky situation that’s hard to get out of, you must identify your emotional triggers so you’ll know how to circumvent whenever the urge arises.
Here are the most common causes of emotional eating:
Stress. Stress from personal or professional happenings can cause you to overeat. The body’s hormone cortisol is a trigger for people who crave unhealthy food like fatty, sweet, and salty food.
Suppression. Some people suppress their emotions. And to do this, they overeat and revel in the feeling of “comfort” from all the unhealthy food they eat instead of dealing with their feelings of anger, anxiety, trauma, sadness, fear, and whatnot.
Boredom or loneliness. When one feels bored or lonely, they resort to food for comfort. That’s because feeling full gives you satisfaction and makes you feel happy. Unfortunately, when mixed with negative emotions, boredom and loneliness lead to poor food choices and control.
Peer pressure. Sometimes, going out with your friends can easily make you overeat. By having all those platters of food in front of you, you forget your control when it comes to eating.
Old habits. They say old habits die hard. Indeed, when you’ve been used to overeating since you were a child, this can be difficult to prevent and control until your adulthood stage. Unless you set your mind to it, the habit of overeating added with negative emotions is difficult to eliminate.
10 Ways to Use Mindfulness Meditation to Overcome Emotional Eating
The feeling you get after overeating due to stress brings you down even more. And if you haven’t tried to remedy it, mindfulness meditation can help you overcome emotional eating. But you need to get the hang of it after a while. So when you want to start this remedy, here are 10 ways you can master mindfulness meditation for emotional eating.
1. Identify triggers
First, you need to know who your enemies are. Determine what triggers your emotional eating. They say that prevention is better than cure. And honestly, this is the best advice one can give you if you’re in a state of an emotional rollercoaster. If you feel that something might provoke your emotional stability, then veer away from it before it tears you down.
Jot down the things, people, or activities that don’t make you happy and those that make you anxious, angry, or sad. Check your routine every day and avoid situations where you’ll likely experience these triggers.
2. Start for a few minutes a day
Meditating for at least five minutes every day after you wake up can help you kick-start your day. Try to make it a habit to immediately sit down or be in your “meditation” position after you wake up daily. Then time your meditations. Try to meditate at least five minutes every day and gradually increase when you’re ready. Try not to overwhelm yourself by meditating for longer minutes or an hour at the beginning of your practice.
5-Minute Mindfulness Body Relaxation Scan Meditation
3. Acknowledge your surroundings
When you meditate, it’s good to clear your mind of any negative thoughts. Thinking of all the happy memories can help relax your mind and put you in a good state before the meditation process begins. However, try to always acknowledge your surroundings. Feel the breeze, smell the scents, and take in the earth that you’re sitting on.
Acknowledging your surroundings will enable you to meditate wherever you are because you won’t be distracted, regardless of several factors that come your way.
4. Choose a peaceful location
Although you can practice mindfulness meditation wherever you are, it’s good to choose a place where it’s quiet and comfortable. Of course, it’s better to meditate in a place without all the different sounds of noise from vehicles, factories, and people shouting. This way, you’ll be able to concentrate better. Whether you meditate in your room, on your patio, or in the garden, choose a place where your thoughts can run free without any hesitations.
5. Stay in a comfortable position
In meditation, you don’t necessarily have to sit on the floor and cross your legs or put your palms on both your knees with your fingers in a “meditation” position. A good rule of thumb is that you can be in any position that you want as long as you’re comfortable with it.
You can lay in bed, lay flat on your belly, sit on a chair or sit on the floor. Whatever makes you relaxed and comfortable. Stay in that position for the entire meditation process, and find the need to stretch or move a bit if necessary to find that comfort.
6. Set a meditation schedule
To make mindfulness meditation a habit, make sure that you meditate at the same time day in and day out. Creating a schedule is to ensure that you instill this in your mind and not miss it intentionally or inadvertently. It should be easy to create a schedule by sticking to it.
If you need help with a scheduler or to-do list, then do whatever you have to so you won’t go astray from it. The only way you can be adherent is to have the right mindset and determination. If you really want to change your mental health and prevent emotional eating, then have the will to do it first.
7. Set your timer
If at first, you find it a struggle to stick to your meditation schedule, then get the help of timers on your phone. Set your timer so it notifies you when it’s time to meditate. And this way, you can’t make any excuses. Then to ensure that you meditate for your desired time, set the timer until the end of your meditation process.
8. Practice proper breathing
Don’t neglect proper breathing. Breathing is crucial in workouts, yoga, and most especially in meditation. This is so you can feel and take in the air in your lungs as it travels from your surroundings to your body. Inhale with your nose, and exhale from your mouth.
5 Minute Guided Breath Meditation For Beginners
9. Download meditation apps
If you really find it hard to meditate, then don’t fret. There is no shortage of meditation apps out there. Download one and listen to a guided meditation. The voice in these meditation apps is very soothing. Listen to relaxing music if you must. The important thing is to get you on the right track, even if it means using these apps.
10. Don’t be too hard on yourself
The main purpose of meditation is to relieve yourself of the emotional burdens that you carry. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail during the initial process. Try and try until meditation makes you feel better every time. Seek the help of experts if you must. Whatever help you need, always aim to make that connection between the mind and your emotional eating.