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A good relationship with food means eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. But sometimes it just not as easy as that, right?

When you find yourself stuffing your face with a bag of Samboy BBQ Chips, alternating with the mini chocolates from your Favourites box you got for Christmas, one might suggest you are eating for other reasons than satisfying physical hunger.

This is called emotional eating. (as an aside, does anyone have any tips for wrapping the favourites box so not everyone knows instantly what it is? No? oh well).

Emotional eating can have different sources but the main reason you may eat even though you aren’t hungry is to fill up emotionally.

By using food to satisfy emotional needs for love, belonging, connection and care it means that the void is being filled temporarily.

I know what it’s like to feed feelings of emptiness or loneliness with food, rather than facing what is really going on. I am going to help you unlock your emotional eating with my top 5 tips for success. Ready?

1. Don’t suppress your emotions

Emotional eating provides a momentary sense of satisfaction and pleasure when you feel something you don’t want to feel.

It is a way of suppressing feelings that may be unpleasant. Overeating has a numbing and distractive effect.

The first step to unlocking emotional eating is to invite your feelings to the surface and listen to your emotions.

If you allow yourself to feel, you will discover what you truly want instead of using food to numb your emotions.

A great way to start is by keeping a food diary to discover your emotional triggers and the types of foods you reach for. Have you started a food diary?

2. Eat mindfully

Learning how to eat mindfully is one of the most effective tools in curbing emotional eating. Instead of “inhaling” food without joy and pleasure to fill up as quick as possible, try to sit down with your food in front of you and wait for a moment before you start eating.

Close your eyes and be grateful for the meal in front of you.

Sit comfortably, both feet touching the ground.

Take a deep breath and thank the food for nourishing you.

Start taking small bites, chew properly and focus only on eating without any other distractions.

When you eat mindfully you are more likely to stop when you are full and less likely to be affected by emotional triggers.

3. Discover your triggers

By finding out what triggers emotional eating within you will open up your movement toward success.

If you realise you are eating for no reason, stop for a second and ask what you are feeling in this specific moment. Are you stressed, lonely, sad, angry or just bored?

If you discover your triggers you are able to strategise.

Next time you feel this way again it will be easier to distract yourself with something that uplifts you, something else other than food.

Call a friend, go for a walk, and go watch your favourite TV show or do some stretches or a few minutes of yoga.

Try to deal with the emotion in a different way instead of suppressing it with food.

4. Find healthy substitutes

Have a think back to all the times you’ve reached for something unhealthy when emotional eating. What kind of food was it? Crisps? Chocolate? Ice-Cream?

A great way to beating emotional eating is to be prepared and either buy or make your own healthy substitutes.

If you crave your favourite comfort food when you are in a bad mood or feeling stressed; replace it with a healthier version of it. For example, if you crave chocolate – try dark chocolate or organic raw chocolate instead of milk chocolate that is high in sugar.

If you crave salty potato fries, bake your own fries in the oven.

The key is to find a way to satisfy your cravings in a better way than before.

What is your emotional eating crutch? I’d love to help you find a healthier alternative!

5. Don’t restrict yourself

When your diet is restricted your body will crave what it is lacking – salt, sugar, fat, carbs.

When your body has been restricted and then emotional eating kicks in, your body doesn’t stand a chance to fully absorb the nutrients in the food you are eating.

No matter what, try to eat regular meals with snacks in-between to avoid intense cravings.

You need to find your balance when it comes to eating regular meals and exercising which means you really need to listen to your

Do you find yourself restricting your diet at all?  Do you get cravings? Let me know, I’ve love to hear from you, just send me an email

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