Realize that it is natural to love food. What is unnatural is denying yourself access to the array of wonderful and interesting flavors out there. Natural and enjoyable eating involves, among other things:
o slowing down at all meals which cues you in better to when you are full (i.e. automatic portion control without measuring cups or food scales).
o giving real thought (i.e. being mindful) to taste and flavors,
o and making calories count by choosing the best quality, wholesome foods.
Being aware to not label food so much is necessary to becoming a non-dieter, because diets are fueled by categorizing foods into ‘good’ and ‘bad’. This kind of awareness can really work wonders to curb some of the guilt you may associate with your everyday eating, helping you to become less vulnerable to diets.
Getting ‘Smoochy’ with Food vs. Emotional Eating
Be Mindful: Ask yourself, “How much of what I’m eating makes me satisfied and content (i.e., I’m no longer hungry), and how much am I taking now to make me feel comforted for some reason or another?” When you can no longer taste the food or feel nauseous from eating it, then that’s your cue to stop.
In order to begin combating Emotional Eating:
o Have a number of activities enjoyable to you to help channel your attention towards other things you feel good doing.
o Connect with others to form a meaningful and supportive social network. Even though you have little or no friends and your family lives far away, reaching out to people is possible. You can do it on the internet by starting a blog or joining an online support group, or you can do some research and find just one group in your community sharing a similar interest as you. Being socially engaged is so important, because the embarrassment and shame of emotional eating can cause isolation which can worsen the problem.
Also, there is a difference between emotional eating and ‘mindful’ eating. Perhaps you may say well this concept of mindfulness is somewhat New Age, perhaps something you’ve heard of in a spiritual context. But if you really take the time to understand what the term means you will immediately see how much it applies to eating and promoting positive experiences with eating.
Mindfulness means paying full attention to something and being fully engulfed in it without judgment. It’s about being consciously aware and directing your thoughts entirely to the experience of what you are doing. Hurried eating is not mindful eating. Regardless of the ‘superwoman/superman’ suits so many of us walk around with, convincing ourselves that we can do everything at the same time, the truth is our minds can only give quality attention to one thing at a time. In the case of eating, how many times have you been eating a meal and worrying about your children or your job, or what you’re going to do about this or that?