Beginning Practices to Change Behavior

It can be helpful to develop awareness of what you are experiencing in the moment you feel pulled to eat in a way that does not support your weight loss goals, such as eating unhealthy foods or emotionally eating. The moment you experience an urge to emotionally eat is a moment of profound choice. It can be very difficult to pause at the urge without acting on it. Time and practice are key here, along with a willingness to be with the discomfort of cravings and eating urges. The skill you must develop is to notice what is happening to you emotionally without reacting habitually.

The next time you experience an urge to eat in a way that does not support your weight loss goals PAUSE AND OBSERVE:

  • The feelings that are present for you
  • The thoughts, memories, or mental images coming up for you
  • Physical sensations you feel inside and outside your body
  • Urges to do or not do something (which in this case is typically an urge to eat: to eat something unhealthy, to eat in response to negative emotions, to eat to avoid, to overeat, etc)
  • Your Moment of Choice…to do something other than eat in a way that does not support weight loss

As a start, you might just increase your awareness of that Choice Moment, even if you still choose to eat. Just start to increase your awareness that you do have a choice in how you respond to urges to eat and to cravings. Overtime, start to make a different more support and healthy choice. You can develop a list of alternative things you can do. When developing this list, it can be helpful to first have an understanding of the role your unhealthy eating plays, so that the alternative activity you choose can also meet that need for you. Maybe at times you eat as a way to soothe yourself or to avoid: activities that effectively meet these needs may be different. Regarding ‘avoidance’, while distracting activities can be helpful in the short term to break the overeating habit, in the long term it can be helpful to do more inner work around what it is you avoid and why, which is beyond the scope of this blog post.

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