How to beat food addiction and emotional eating

Author: Susan Living, Health Coach Extraordinaire | 16 Dec 2010

Tagged: Exercise, Fitness, Health & Wellbeing, Motivation, Positivity, Sports Nutrition

Many of us use food to numb ourselves, to prop us up when we're down, to quiet our mind or to fill us up when we feel empty. At first glance, food seems like the easiest and quickest solution in so many ways. Food is cheap, legal and simple to obtain, available in every corner shop, cafe, restaurant, home, office, vending machine and lunch bag! In other words, food is a drug and when we come right down to it - we use drugs because they work. At least for a little while...
But then something happens. We find that we don't like our behaviours or ourselves much anymore. We start looking for solutions.
To create a step by step model of beating food addiction and emotional eating we need a highly personalised and comprehensive plan. Freedom from emotional eating must work in your day to day life for you or it won't work at all. For me, the entire point is to enjoy and celebrate the gift of food every day in a stress-free and easy manner. Below are a few vital notes to keep in mind when it comes to developing a healthy relationship with food.
1.Use your food as medicine. If we can see every morsel that passes our lips as either contributing to our health and wellbeing or taking away from it, we are in a much better position to take control of our food habits. When the food we eat has little nutritional value it impacts on our state of mind - we cannot produce the perfect levels of neurotransmitters so our mood fluctuates. Because we in the habit of using food like processed carbohydrates or caffeine to make ourselves feel better and because they are quick and easy, we eat them and so perpetuate the cycle of poor food, leading to poor state of mind, leading to poor food choices and so on. When we start to take in the best quality, nutrient-dense, freshest and most vibrant food we can get our hands on, our physical, mental and emotional health will flourish.
2.Eliminate completely all addictive substances from your diet. With food, start with MSG, then move on to sugar. There's no two ways about it. MSG and sugar are drugs that cause a consistent and reliable chemical shift in our bodies and our brains. They are damaging and addictive. Start slowly. Begin by learning why they're so bad for us. Learn how to recognise them and how they're hidden in our packaged, canned, frozen and processed food. Then look for substitutes that are more natural and do not contain addictive food chemicals. Find out how many of the foods in your pantry and fridge contain sugar and MSG and start eliminating them. Every person I've ever worked with who has removed sugar and MSG from their diet feels profoundly different - strong and clear and much, much more energetic and healthy. The bottom line is, it's really hard, if not impossible to change your eating habits if you continue to ingest addictive substances daily. I'm not talking about a life of never enjoying a glass of wine or chocolate, rather, recognising that these substances do have power over some of us and taking back control.
3.Be easy on yourself. Food and mood are intimately connected and have been since the day you were born. By choosing to educate and enlighten yourself around your food habits and comfort eating, you are in many ways, going against the grain and reversing ways of eating that have been in place for many years. This does not happen overnight. Or, it may happen overnight, only to prove unsustainable so you go back again and again to comfort and compulsive eating. The majority of us have been taught by well meaning and loving parents to use food as a reward (be quiet and you'll get McDonalds for dinner!), as punishment (if you don't eat your greens you won't get desert) and as a distraction (when crying children are given something to eat, they generally shut up immediately). This is not about blame, more about seeing the biggest possible picture of who you are and your intricate relationship with food. What is your food story? What did you learn about food as a child?
By beginning to integrate these concepts we come up with much more than a simple, step by step guide to beating emotional eating and putting an end to strict discipline and self-control - we come up with a way of life and a way to live in harmony with the health of our bodies, the health of our families, the health of our communities and our homes and the health of our earth. By taking charge of your food habits, you will discover an inner freedom that will allow you to do anything you want and more!
Susan Living is a community focused speaker, workshop facilitator and health coach extraordinaire! She shares her insights into whole food nutrition, the psychology of eating and food addiction with those wanting to take their health to the next level. Susan's down to earth and practical thoughts on health and wellbeing are applicable to anyone with a body