By: Jennifer Sterling, IATG Contributor March 21, 2016
You don’t make the team, your bestie takes her dream job in London, or your plus one breaks up with you and suddenly you forget about salads and steamed veggies. Instead you want to bury your face in a pan of warm brownies and binge on Netflix while cuddling with a bag of chips or dive deep into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s because, “I’m heartbroken and alone and want all the carbs and chocolate in my face.”
It’s natural to crave food when we’re sad, alone or stressed.
Eating provides a welcome distraction from the discomfort, and sugary foods like bread and ice cream stimulate the pleasure center of your brain and give you a temporary boost of feel good hormones.
A short term reward.
It’s all good while you’re savoring every last bite of salted caramel chocolate ice cream, but when the chocolate is gone and you come crashing down from your food-high you’re left completely unfulfilled – sad, alone, and bloated.
So how do you resist the urge to stuff your face with all the things when you’re feeling stressed, sad or lonely? You deal with the emotions that are causing you to want to eat.
The next time you’re tempted to grab a spoon and eat your weight in chocolate ice cream:
1. Wait 5 minutes (easier said than done, but you can do it). While you’re waiting, take a breath and check in with yourself.
How are you feeling?
How do you want to feel?
Is burying your face in food gonna make you feel better or leave you hating yourself, drowning in a puddle of shame?
2. If your answer to the last question is yes, grab a glass of water or a cup of tea and a journal. Feel the feelings and write them down.
Instead of eating your feelings, take the time to understand what you’re feeling. Writing them down will help you gather your thoughts and express some of the things you may not feel comfortable talking about.
3. Give yourself a high five for feeling the feelings (give yourself a clap, a kudos, an arms-around-yourself hug.
4. Move Your Body.
Run on the treadmill, take a ride on the wild side in a cycling class, or put on your favorite song and have a private dance party. Moving your body is a natural way to increase the feel good hormones in your brain and soothe your nervous system. You’ll feel much better afterwards.
5. Do something that makes you happy.
It’s totally cliché, but do something that will make you feel fulfilled, loved, and satisfied. When you’re feeling full in life, you won’t feel the need to turn to food for comfort.
And if you decide to give in and have the ice cream anyway, forgive yourself and move on. You can’t change the past, but at least you’ll have a better understanding of yourself and your emotions moving forward.
Give one of Jennifer’s great tips a try and share your discoveries with friends or others. Got a tip to add to the list, tell us below!
Jennifer Sterling is a Certified Holistic Health and Movement Coach. She helps women who are struggling with body image and disordered eating learn to nourish their bodies with food, dance their way through the tough stuff and love themselves unconditionally using her signature BodyLove Method.
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