5 Tips to Shift The Weight of Your Emotions


5 Tips to Shift The Weight of Your Emotions

Emotions not food are the prime suspect when wanting to stop the slow creep of the weight gain dial. Why?

Whilst I am not a dietician or nutritionist I have clients wanting coaching on how to change the way emotional eating and cravings influences their health and wellbeing. They see the way that increases in weight or a lack of control over their eating starts to impact on productivity and a sense of wellbeing and control. 

A lack of routine and the constant demands of business can create stressors that lead to poor eating habits. Small Business owners work longer and push harder in business overworking and fatiguing our nervous system.

Stress has a direct impact on hormone production and release. Without going into too much detail we produce more adrenaline and importantly cortisol – the ‘fat’ hormone during these periods of spiking or low grade chronic stress. This can have a big impact … if you’ll pardon the pun.  

We need intervention strategies to prevent our eating habits and behaviours having a weighty impact.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2017-18, two thirds (67.0%) of Australians 18 years and over were overweight or obese.As concerning as these statistics are of equal concern are the long term emotional toll over eating and other poor wellness habits have on the individual. 

Have you ever had the experience of getting through a whole meal and not even realising you had eaten? This happens more often when we are stressed, upset, overwhelmed or distracted. 

Stress interferes with cognitive processes such as executive function and self-regulation. …stress can affect behaviour by inducing overeating. We have been conditioned over time to reach for quick fixes. And food is a very common one because it is the easiest to get a hold of.

Our lack of awareness around how we are feeling before we eat is one of the biggest influencers on whether we are going to start to soften around the edges, more so than the food we are actually consuming, and here is why. When we are not present to our emotional state while eating we are not consciously engaged in the act of consuming so we do not enjoy the experience or pick up on the cues that we have had enough. Therefore we tend to eat faster and eat too much. 

The Weight of Your Emotions has a long term impact

Of course, the long term impact is not great for our health, our self esteem or our sense of self control. Then the extra weight, additional frustration and decreasing self esteem lead to further poor habits such as a decrease in exercise and throwing in the towel when it comes to our food choices. We feel helpless in the face of not being able to control ourselves. However, there are habits based intervention solutions we can use to begin to break this negative cycle. Here are a five select tools:

1. Check in to your emotional state before you start eating any meal

If you are upset or stressed try to do something to break that state until you feel calmer. A short walk is a great way to change your feelings. 

2. Consciously acknowledge you are about to eat

This can be done with simple things like setting a place at the table, turning off your phone or the TV or saying a short gratitude statement for the food you are about to eat.

3. Pay attention when eating

Paying attention to the taste, smell, texture and enjoyment levels of your food increases cues to your body and brain that you are eating, have eaten and enjoyed it fully. 

4. Space out your meal, slow it all down

Put down your knife and fork between mouthfuls, chew slowly, be intentional about eating. You register satiation faster and ultimately need to eat less to feel satisfied.

5. Listen to your body

If you are paying attention your body will tell you when you have had enough. Often it is sooner than you might think. ‘Enough’ is feeling satisfied not overfull. 

Paying attention and choosing not to eat when we are feeling over emotional helps to disrupt the connections between eating to feel better or eating more because we feel stressed. As with so many things in life and in our business it is habit awareness and correction that makes the biggest difference.

The tips above are a great place for you to start to shift the weight of your emotions. You can do this with your own habits intervention and take some weight off.

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