In my experience, healing from a health challenge is never a linear process. Rather, it is a multifaceted, interactive series of actions and practices combined with a good amount of faith, luck, skill, determination, endurance, and a strong belief in yourself.
I am always in search of new tools that increase the odds of reaching my health goals. Today I wanted to share with you the newest addition to my tool box.
According to Tricia Nelson, an Emotional Eating expert who presented at a recent health practitioner conference I attended, most of our daily eating is done not because we are hungry, but because we have a social, emotional, mental, spiritual need to fill. She emphasized that rather than figuring out how to get our needs met, all of us often (almost always) reach for food to cover up our needs.
Tricia’s presentation inspired me to track my emotional eating habits. During the last two weeks of observing myself and why I eat, I developed a method to track my experience. Below are the steps I take. I would encourage you to give it a try yourself to see what insights you may gain!
- Realize that I am about to eat. Often this is the most difficult part of the process because I don’t even realize that I am eating sometimes :)
Turn on an observer mindset (versus a judgement mindset). Try to see if there is an emotional need being filled by eating.
Evaluate. Is this a pattern that I would like to keep having in my life? Is it serving me to my benefit? Does it feel good? What does my gut say about it?
Let it go. Keep observing what happens next time.
Through this process I realized that allowing myself to observe my emotional needs is helping me to be a more consistently healthy eater. I more often have the awareness to distance myself from the emotions that would normally lead me to impulse eat. By doing so, I can take better care of myself - choosing to fill my emotional needs with actions that truly benefit my body too.
So when your body is truly hungry, know that we are here to feed you.