If you are struggling to overcome emotional eating, this 1 tip can change everything for you – if you take it to heart and practice it.
You are going to learn what is happening in your brain when the temptation comes.
A big clue on how to deal with this comes when you remember that “emotional distress” drives this habit.
Let’s examine the “distress” part first. Within that word is “stress.” Stress comes when you feel a situation is beyond your ability to handle. When you feel that way, your brain prompts your body to release two chemicals – Adrenaline and Cortisol.
- Adrenaline activates your circulatory system. It causes the raised heart rate, shallow breathing, muscle tension, etc.
- Cortisol affects your metabolism, the rate at which your body produces energy. It’s aim to provide fuel for your body to use.
Why do you need to know this? Here is an important key: When you experiencing distressing emotions, your body starts preparing itself for action. Most of you have heard of the phrase “fight or flight.” Because your body thinks you are in danger (real or imagined), it wants you to flee (escape) or fight to deal with the situation.
It is important that you take care of these physical symptoms BEFORE you even attempt to rationalize with yourself. As long as your body is telling itself that it is in danger, it is not going to listen to you. So you need to calm your body down.
You can think of this as removing the emotional charge. Within the word “emotion” is “motion.” So when you are feeling the desire to eat emotionally, then make it a practice to put your body in motion for a minimum of 10 minutes.
You can walk around, do some dynamic stretches, dance, jump on a trampoline, whatever it takes to “burn off” that Adrenaline and Cortisol. It may even help to think of your body as a “colicky” baby that you need to soothe and reassure.
During that 10 minutes, ask the Lord in prayer to show you what the emotion is that is causing you distress. Ask for His perfect love to cast out that fear as He promised. Ask Him to show you the escape route, one that doesn’t involve eating when you aren’t hungry.
The reason your brain wants the food is because it causes the release of the neurotransmitter Dopamine, which is one of the brain’s pleasure/reward/motivation chemicals. I also like to think of Dopamine as the “Gimme” chemical.
Dopamine makes your body feel good, so your brain has learned that this is the way to get you out of pain.
You need to teach your brain other ways to get the Dopamine release apart from food. Praise, worship, inspiring music, hugs (even hugging yourself), laughter, getting some sun – these are just few ways to get a Dopamine release without food. That’s the “medicine” your brain is really after.
The next time you are tempted to eat emotionally, start working on this new approach. If you keep on using food the old way, all you are doing is reinforcing your old “teaching” in your brain. You are building even stronger neural connections and memories, making it even harder for you to change in the future.
The good news in that you can start re-wiring your brain in as little as 21 days with consistent practice!
Now a word of caution – this new approach will not work if you keep your binge foods in your house continuously. It is as self-defeating as an alcoholic keeping a well-stocked liquor cabinet in her house – and then expecting herself not to want to take a drink!
If you are not willing to remove temptation from yourself, then you must ask yourself – what do I believe these foods are doing for me? What am I afraid that I’ll lose if I don’t have these foods around me?
Be blessed with health, healing, and wholeness,
Creator of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. When it comes to weight loss, do you often know what you should do but have a hard time doing it?
I struggled with this issue on my own weight loss journey, but I discovered that “Nothing is different until you think differently.” – Pastor James MacDonald
The value of the Take Back Your Temple program is that you will learn how to think differently through using Biblical keys to overcome obstacles. You’ll discover how to win the Spiritual and mental battle that often causes us to become inconsistent and get off-track on our weight loss journey.
Join a community of like-minded Christians losing weight and keep it off.