The second key I found to be essential for breaking my bad eating habits was to find out the underlying emotional reason for overeating in first place.
I’m going to tell you straight up, people, this was not easy. I had to face some deep dark corners of my emotions; feelings that I had unknowingly happily numbed had to come to the surface and be dealt with.
I started by asking myself, every time I went to grab food, why I was eating. Was I hungry? Was my body in need of a specific nourishment? If not, then why was I eating? I realized I usually overate to numb feelings of boredom and loneliness.
Once I was able to identify these emotions and give them a name, processing them became possible. Processing those emotions required a hard look at my life and what wasn’t working about it. I had to look both at my own weaknesses and how people around me were affecting me. I had to face the fact that my marriage was falling apart; I wasn’t getting the emotional support I needed. It left me lonely. I had to face the fact that I didn’t make the best use of the time I had. I was bored.
I had to make two changes in my life.
First, I had to minimize the reasons I was feeling those emotions. I separated from my husband. I found that when I am alone with someone there, it is more lonely than the solitude of being alone by choice. I started using my time more wisely. I developed a better work ethic around the house. I went back to school, which definitely used much more of my time.
Second, I had to develop better coping mechanisms for when I still felt those emotions. When I am lonely, I call a friend or talk to the dog. (While it sounds funny, my dog is actually a pretty good listener.) When I am bored, I clean or organize or sort something. I do homework. I run up and down the stairs 10 times.
One of my biggest tool to overcome my emotional eating habits was, whenever I found myself wandering into the kitchen, to drink instead. I’d heard of an eating plan called Trim Healthy Mama, and I wanted to see what it was about. While I decided not to follow the plan, I fell in love with their Good Girl Moonshine. I always have a quart mason jar on my counter filled with Good Girl Moonshine. It has enough kick that it feels like a better replacement than just water for the food I would have eaten otherwise.
What bad habits are you trying to overcome? Are there emotional reasons that these habits developed? How can you minimize them and develop better coping mechanisms?
See Part 1 of my Breaking Bad Habits here.