Healthy eating for good mental health – part 3 – emotional eating
In this final blog in healthy eating for good mental health series, we will be looking at the more emotional aspects of healthy eating.
What are you eating or what’s eating you?
So you’ve got the books like Deliciously Ella, Medicinal Chef and Eat, Nourish, Glow. You’ve watched Joe Wicks and juiced with Jason Vale. Your phone is bursting with podcasts and you have a gym membership. But you still can’t commit to a consistent healthy plan. WHY NOT? It’s a bit of a mystery isn’t it?
Eating shouldn’t be complex. We were designed to eat to fuel our bodies. But somehow somehow eating comes with a host of other factors which can affect how, what, how much and when we eat.
Here are some common reasons that people’s eating is emotionally ‘out of control’ or meaning they are not eating a balanced diet.
Stress emotional eating
When you are stressed you do not think as clearly as when you are calm. When you don’t think clearly you are more likely to shove something in your mouth without thinking about it. This is sometimes referred to as emotional eating. You pay less attention to the needs of your body too as your mind is on other things. In addition, when you are stressed your body releases cortisol from the adrenal glands which increases appetite. You can read more about that in this Harvard paper here.
Stress also tends to make you reach for sugary and fatty foods. It can easily become a habit for the body to connect these foods with stressfull situations.
Lonely emotional eating
Lots of my hypnotherapy clients who come to see me because they want to eat a healthier diet say they are lonely and use food as a ‘friend’. This is a classic case of emotional eating. Food seems to fill lonely gaps for people and becomes a ‘friend’ in its own right. Watching a movie alone? Eat lots of ice creams and other sugary and fatty snacks. Bored? Plan what to buy and eat or go on an outing to get some ‘naughty food’. You are in it together’. You and your food ‘friends’.
Emotional eating to escape
Life can be mundane and dull. Food can be an escape from the routine. Oh a Chinese, how exciting! You might go to the restaurant to have it or it is delivered. The smells excite you and you like the flavours. An exotic menu to tantalise you. But hold on… you scoff it down and then what?
Life is still the same. The chores are still there and you still live in your house. And you might feel bad about eating something greasy or having spent more money than you wanted to on that meal. Again your emotions have triggered the eating.
Emotional eating issues
Time and time again, people come to see me for typnotherapy to improve their eating but it’s not about the eating. When we start working together and smooth other issues, the eating is almost a by product of those issues. Self-worth, confidence and motivation are really important elements of us and can easily be smoothed and healed with hypnotherapy and NLP.
Never underestimate emotional issues creeping into all areas of your life. So many times people know all the things they should be doing and once they unload issues, these things become much easier and life changes.
Mindless emotional eating
Every time you eat ask yourself, why am I eating this? The answer might be that you are hungry. But the answer might be completely different. You might be surprised! You might be tired and eating sugar. You might be sad and eating for comfort. You might be bored and filling some time or you might be stressed and just desperately using food as a crutch.
The top 3 enemies of healthy eating
1 – Friends & family
It’s nice to be loved. It makes the world go round. But sometimes those that love us can scarper our healthy eating plans. Imagine the scene, you are at your family’s house announcing your plans to eat right and lose weight. You are motivated and ready. You want to share it with them because you are excited and want their support. The conversation goes something like this….
You – ‘I’m starting a healthy eating plan’
Them – ‘What another diet?’
You – ‘Less sugar, processed foods and fried foods’
Them ‘but you are fine as you are’
You – ‘I just want more energy and to lose some weight’
Them ‘ that sounds ok but will you still be round for Sunday dinners and are you still coming for that big cream tea next week?’
You ‘yes but I won’t be eating as much’
Them ‘oh, that’s no fun! You’re fine as you are!’
This time you feel like you really really mean it. But don’t forget they’ve beee through all this before! And every time there you are spoiling their fun and advising them on how they could make healthier choices when they are tucking into their favourite things!
These people love you for you. Not your dress size. They don’t want to see you miserable and hungry (which is why it’s important to get your diet plan right because ones that make you miserable and hungry don’t tend to last).
We like to feed those we love
Often we feed those we love. This makes complete sense because the main job of looking after a baby is to feed it so that food/love connection is very deep and strong. Some people take great pleasure and pride in preparing food for their loved ones. It is symbolic of their love for you. So for that to be rejected in any way can be hurtful. Even if that glorious Victoria sponge is full of love, you have chosen not to eat it because it’s sugar and fat content is not on your eating agenda.
If you are out with friends and they are all indulging, it can make you feel the odd one out not to join in. You might get comments like ‘oh come on we don’t see you very often’ or ‘you only live once’. You could also subconsciously irritate others by remaining committed to your healthy choices when they want to indulge. My personal view here is that we should respect the choices and views of everyone as there will always be some things that we support and some things that we don’t understand about others.
2 – Emotions
One study by a team of researchers from New Zealand that looked at why people wanted to lose weight found that half wanted to improve their health, a third wanted to improve their appearance and the rest wanted to feel happier about themselves.
They concluded that the best reasons to lose weight were health and appearance. What was suggested is that losing weight may not help with managing emotions. The answer is to learn how to manage your emotions before or during tackling weight loss.
If your self-esteem is low and you look to weight loss only to improve it this is a risky long term strategy. You are more than a body. You are mind, body and spirit and you will be more resilient if you work on all aspects on yourself.
It’ not just overweight people that are unhappy
It is a myth that only overweight people are unhappy. In my hypnotherapy practice I see plenty of slim people who need help with anxiety, confidence, depression, sleep and stress. Some of my clients have lost weight in all manner of ways and are surprised that they still are not happy at the end of it. This is where we do work on the inside to increase self-esteem and confidence.
As an NLP Master Practitioner, I help you understand yourself more giving them you a real sense of who you are. You are able to move forward in your life feeling better about being you, feeling more confident and able to communicate in ways that don’t leave you feeling cheated. It will feel good to be you and your outlook to life will be different.
Here are some of the things people have said after working with me:
- ‘I feel like I can clearly see what was holding me back’
- ‘I came in not expecting much and I feel like I’ve changed my life’
- ‘I now have control of my life’
- ‘I feel ’empowered’ I feel so much better in myself’
3 – Victim mentality
A victim mentality means not accepting responsibility for what you eat. It means taking ownership of what enters your mouth and being accountable. No one is saying that you have to eat healthy or lose weight. You make that choice.
But it is not congruent to say you are unhappy about something and that you are working on changing it and then continue to make excuses.
If you are constantly preoccupied with your health or weight and unhappy about it, there will always be a reason why you can’t do it. Everyone has at least one. It’s not always easy! It doesn’t always fit in with life and it takes long term commitment to sustain but the sooner you own it like Beyonce owns it, the sooner you will see changes and feel more in control. If that is what you want.
Here are some reasons people give for not achieving the weight loss they say they want.
- I don’t have time
- I’ve had kids
- I work away
- I have a sweet tooth
- I’m stressed
- I can’t afford it
You don’t have to go it alone
You can overcome emotional eating and eat a healthier diet with this hypnosis download bundle (5 hypnotic recordings included)
This bundle is great value because it contains 5 effective hypnotic mp3 downloads to help you lose weight and keep it off whilst feeling healthy, happy and confident. It covers the key 5 areas that many people want to improve doing their weight loss journey.
1 – Being more confident
Feeling more confident can be the gateway to great things in life. Imagine having the confidence to go for a new job or start your own business. Or to go on a date or make new friends. Confidence is the river that runs through most key events in life. Often highly skilled and competent people just don’t go for it because they lack confidence. Change that with this hypnotic download mp3 and get the confidence to help you do great things!
2 – Overcome sugar addiction
If your sweet tooth is out of control, this hypnosis download mp3 will really help you cut out the sugar and get back in control. Sugar is addictive and plays havoc with your blood sugar levels so you will feel great once you ditch the sugar habit with this download.
3 – Have a healthier lifestyle
4 – Loving your body
Feeling good about your body can really change your outlook on life. If you have a positive body image every day is easier because you feel good in your clothes and you will be more confident. This hypnosis download mp3 will really help you love your body more and want to nourish and nuture it in a loving way. When you feel more body positive you will be happier in your own skin and feel ready to face the world with the body you have.
5 – Overcoming emotional eating
This MP3 will help you overcome emotional eating by building your good feelings about yourself and increasing your resilience to emotional ‘blips’. Not only will you feel better about only eating when you actually need to but you will feel more emotionally balanced and just all round more in control.
You can buy it and listen to them now.