Hi guys, Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo. Today we’re going to be talking about emotional eating.  If you have any questions on today’s blog, or would like to learn more about how emotional eating could be affecting you, give us a call at 806-322-3188.

Most of us have either had a problem with emotional eating or know someone that has had to struggle with emotional eating. Between work, kids, and the daily grind, emotional eating can start to become an issue for many.

So what is emotional eating? You might not even know that you’re doing it. When you emotionally eat, it can be tied to these emotions that you are experiencing in the moment. They can be negative or positive emotions, and no one emotion is tied to one specific person. An array of feelings can tie into the causes of emotional eating.

Some people know that they’re doing it and can feel overwhelmed with the frustration and guilt, while some people don’t even know that they do it.  I’ve seen the latter manifest in one client that I was working with.  As a personal trainer in Amarillo and a nutritionist, I tend to work with my clients through their nutritional battles as well as fitness battles. One client would wake up in the morning to find food in his bed and realized that he must have been sleepwalking to get the food in the middle of the night. These kinds of emotional issues are serious, so I referred him to a wonderful counselor in the area to help him overcome this issue. And a lot of people can be scared to deal with this issue or talk about it, but there are several things that can be done to deal with this issue. We’ll dive into some of the options out there. First, I want everyone to know that there is hope, there is help, and getting help is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone has issues in their lives that require help that we cannot give ourselves, and help comes without judgment.

When you first realize that you’re an emotional eater, the first step is to start really being mindful of what you’re eating. It can be easy to just grab food while you’re going about your busy day and not actually paying attention to what you’re consuming. However, if you take the time to sit down at the table to eat, you can take that time to really ask yourself why you’re eating. Is it because your mind is telling you that you’re hungry? Is it because you’re feeling stressed out? Is it because you’re bored? Or is your body really telling you that it’s hungry? It can be hard to tell the difference between mental cues and physical cues. It will take some time and practice to be able to really listen to your body, but being mindful and conscious is the first step.

In that mindset, the next step is food journaling. Start by writing down not only what you’re eating, but what you were feeling while you were eating. That can start to discern how often you are emotionally eating and what kinds of foods you are emotionally eating. Ask yourself in the journal “What am I eating, when am I eating, and what am I feeling?”  It also is great to have an accountability partner to share that information with to help you through this process. Be sure to choose someone that isn’t going to judge you, you don’t need that, but choose someone supportive and encouraging. Having someone to pick you up on the days you feel down and talk you through your struggles can really make a difference. Also, when you know that someone is going to be looking at the journal that can help motivate you to stay on track and keep yourself accountable.

So now that you are being mindful of eating and starting to understand why you eat, make a conscious decision to sit down at a table and take the time to focus on your meal. Take the time to use all your senses to take in the food and savor the moment so that you know what you’re doing, as opposed to quickly eating something and hoping that it will fill this emotional hole.

And be sure that if you aren’t physically hungry, to try and distract yourself. It might sound kind of silly, but walking away from the same spot on the couch to go do something that can get you mind off of food really helps. Get your mind and possibly your hands engaged in an activity. Go outside, or try out a new hobby! Keeping yourself busy can help keep you away from eating out of boredom. There have been studies done on this that show that people will eat practically anything out of boredom. I have a friend that decided to conduct her own study on her kids to see what they would eat out of boredom. Her kids hate green beans, so one night she set out a bowl of frozen green beans for them while they were watching TV and walked away for thirty minutes. When she came back, the bowl was empty. So if you are able to keep your mind engaged, and the snacks out of reach, then the better results you will have.

Now comes the biggest part, we all knew this was coming, we have to deal with the emotional aspect of emotional eating. If it is honestly just boredom, then that can be can be easier to deal with, but you still have to acknowledge it and find something to occupy your time. However, if it’s depression, anger, happiness, or any real emotion, then you have to consider what you are doing to yourself, ask if you can deal with the issue through what was discussed today, or if you have to take it a step further by getting further help. If you do realize that getting further help is what you need then please get the help you need. There is nothing wrong with taking the initiative and responsibility to get help. You won’t be judged, and these people are there to help you. Whether it’s a psychologist, counselor, doctor, or if it is just someone to help you manage your stress through meditation or yoga, then get that help. When you get help is when you can learn how to function outside of these emotions holding you back.

So if this is something that you are struggling with, or something that someone you know is struggling with then please share this post with them. If you would like help creating a better sense of wellness in your body from the inside out at a nonjudgmental, non-intimidating environment, then we would love to be that help for you. Please feel free to call or email us with any questions at 806-322-3188, and at info@customfitness.biz At Custom Fitness we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo Texas.