First, it can be helpful to identify exactly what your healthy eating plan entails. Specific eating programs can be helpful in terms of providing suggested types of foods to eat. At a minimum it is very important to eliminate added sugars and refined,. processed carbohydrates. Ultraprocessed foods drive overeating and will make it very difficult to adhere to your healthy eating intentions. Maybe in another blog post I will given some suggestions in personalizing a healthy way of eating that makes sense for you. So, step 1, get that health eating program!
What follows is what to do when those urges to break you program inevitably arise. Emotional eating and overeating are a mix of psychology and physiology. So eating the ‘perfect diet’ will not eliminate your urges to overeat or to eat off plan or to revert to eating unhealthy foods, particularly during times you are experiencing negative emotional states. Right now, your current pattern is probably:
Urge to overeat/eat a food not on your plan…and then eventually give in to eating that food or in that way
- Notice what you are experiencing emotionally. Take some time to get CURIOUS about the thoughts, memories, mental images, feelings, and sensations that are present for you. Especially notice if you are overall feeling something negative or aversive. Notice what you have an urge to do or not do. Notice if you are feeling an urge to avoid something.
- Within all of your experience, get curious about what exactly has TRIGGERED YOUR EATING URGE
- Identify what NEED may be underlying that urge. Do you need a break? Some soothing? A distraction? Stimulation? Do you need to take action?
- IDENTIFY A WAY TO MANAGE YOUR URGE AND MEET YOUR NEED IN A HEALTHY WAY THAT DOES NOT INVOLVE FOOD
- To cope effectively in #4, consider: is there something you can do to problem solve an issue? Is this something that cannot be changed and instead you may need to work towards surrender and acceptance? Would it help to be patient and sit with uncertainty? Are you in need of soothing? Do you need a distraction? Identify specific activities and ways to meet your needs without turning to food!
- Make a list and keep it with you.