We've all done it at some point -- found ourselves mindlessly staring into the fridge or pantry when we aren't hungry at all.
That's because hunger isn't what brought us there, emotions did.
Stress, sadness, frustration, boredom, anger, being depressed, feeling overwhelmed or simply engaging in a full blown pity party hosted by one of your limiting beliefs can easily bring us to this place. Continued engagement with these fear-based thoughts will not break this destructive cycle.
Looking to food to escape fear-based feelings and limiting beliefs are simply unhealthy coping skills and allow us to check out versus check in.
Choosing to check out seems easier in the moment and choosing to check in will feel like the absolute hardest thing to do at the beginning stages but trust me, it does get easier. I know because I've been there.
My destructive emotional eating habits weren't easy to point out for many reasons; I always "looked" healthy, my weight never fluctuated tremendously and I worked out. I also wasn't pounding a sleeve of Oreo's. I was more of the "healthier junk foods" type. But that didn't matter. I was still harming myself.
When I found myself in a routine of mindlessly eating an entire big bag of Skinny Pop in front of the tv on a completely full tummy following a meal until I literally felt sick, I knew something had to change.
I had to choose right. I had to stop checking out. I had to learn how to check in.
These were the steps I took to do just that. They still serve me today and probably always will because checking in is a practice that you have to stay committed to.
Four Steps to Check In With Yourself
This is a big first step in choosing right. When we choose to step out of denying that something is wrong, we give ourselves permission to change. Sure, maybe my emotional eating habits weren't super extreme and I wasn't purging after, but did that make them any less destructive?
Once I acknowledged there was a problem, it gave awareness the opportunity to step in. I was able to catch myself during the process instead of not recognizing until my stomach was so full that I was in pain.
3. Claim your power
By acknowledging and being more aware, I gave myself the ability to make a choice in the moment to either continue (choosing destructive behaviors) or stop (choosing self care). I took my power back!
Eventually I would catch myself closer and closer to the beginning of the cycle and could make the choices sooner, which led to breaking the destructive behavior pattern. It wasn't easy and it definitely did not happen overnight. However, I'm so much healthier and happier now.
Do you find yourself checking out and turning to food?
What are the biggest stressors you have that cause emotional eating habits?
Are there any action steps that you've put into place to help break the cycle?
Are there other destructive behaviors you get stuck in?
Please share in the comments below. You never know how the power of your story could help another <3