Eating Mindfully instead of Emotionally: Why Is It Important?
When you take the time to learn about what your body needs and how to take care of yourself through eating healthier, there's nothing but positive benefits to that. There's a reason why books like “The Secret” tell you that the key to happiness is to be positive and positive things will manifest in your life. When you choose to eat healthy foods, your body will be healthier!
Why Should I Be Eating Mindfully Instead of Emotionally?
Examine Your Choices
Emotions tend to be impulsive, it's being reactive to a stimuli instead of being proactive for your own health. When you start to conquer emotional eating by eating healthier, you should start by examining the choices that you make on a daily basis. For example, think about these scenarios.
It's been a long stressful day and you don't feel like cooking. Instead, you choose a fast food drive through and grab a quick burger and fries with a soda. You're hungry, so you start eating it in the car and by the time you get home, most, if not all, of the meal is gone. Feeling rather bloated from the greasy, salty meal, you flop onto the couch, turn on the tv and just try to wind down from your day before heading to bed to do it all over again.
It's been a long day at work but you drive home and open up the fridge and grab one of the meals you prepared in advance for busy nights. A quick reheat and it's ready to go. You sit at the table to eat, reading a book or scrolling social media. Then after your meal, you clean up the table and pick up the kitchen, leading you to remember to do your laundry. While you wait for the washing machine, you decide to take a walk to see the sunset and get some more steps in. By the time you get back, it's time to put the laundry in the dryer and head to bed, relaxed and ready for sleep.
In scenario #1, the bad day at work turns into the poor decision to go through a drive thru, which turns into eating in the car, leading to uncomfortable feelings and wasting the rest of the evening on the couch. In scenario #2, meals are already prepped and ready to go, so there is less temptation to make that pit stop on the way home. The healthier dinner gives you the energy to do some housework and chores and get some exercise in! When you have a clean space to cook in,
Is Noom Better Than MyWW For Mindful Eating?
Unlike MyWW, Noom does not count points, instead it counts calories and assigns food a color. While it may be a tad more expensive than myWW, I found the increased accountability and support were a HUGE benefit. If you start to feel like you are “falling off the wagon”, you can set alerts on Noom so your coach knows to check in on you! That's a big deal for me, knowing that someone is going to check to make sure that I am doing what I'm supposed to do.
Failure To Plan Is Planning To Fail
When you are trying to overcome emotional eating habits, you have to plan ahead. By making meals ahead of time, you are less likely to eat impulsively and make poor decisions. You are arranging the portion sizes, the ingredients and ultimately will probably sit down and eat the meal intentionally instead of scarfing it down while on the road. Here are a few tips to follow when planning meals.
- Make individual servings of snacks to avoid mindless eating.
- When you go grocery shopping, prep all of your produce as soon as you get home. You are more likely to make good choices if it's easy to do.
- Find make ahead recipes like Chicken Shawarma Lettuce Wraps, Egg Roll in a Bowl or Inside Out Stuffed Peppers for nights you don't have a lot of time to cook.
How To Tackle Being “Hangry” When Trying To Conquer Emotional Eating
If you know the term “hangry” then this is the part you should identify with the most. Your stomach is aching, your irritable and cranky… and any food will do. You grab the first thing you can to eat because you just need to eat SOMETHING. There's a great way to combat that, and it's having a “hangry kit”! Grab a cute little lunchbag and fill it with healthy snacks that are individually wrapped and portioned out. This way you can squash those hangry feelings without the guilt of poor decisions. Here are some snacks to keep on hand:
- Fat Free Cheese Sticks
- Hard boiled eggs
- Hummus and veggies
- Air-popped popcorns
- Mini packs of peanut butter or almond butter
Mindful Eating When Dining Out
Dining out is a big hurdle for me! One of my triggers for emotional eating is sitting at a restaurant with my family and overindulging. Some steps that I take to avoid emotional eating at restaurants is to look at the menu before I get there. Often, by the time we are ordering our meals, we are already hungry and tend to over order and over eat. By having a plan of what you are going to order before arriving and sticking to that plan, you are more likely to be mindful in your choices.
If you are dining by yourself, you should check out Amy Gorin's Guide To Dining Alone! She has a bunch of great tips for how to enjoy solo dining while still eating mindfully.
Practice Mindful Eating Meditation
Meditation is a great practice for self care. When you incorporate meditations with mindful eating, you are virtually accomplishing two goals at once! Here is a great one from Smiley's Points:
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What are the Best Tools to Conquer Emotional Eating?
I have found that one of the best tools to conquer emotional eating is to have accountability for my actions. This course includes a workbook with over 25 pages to learn all aspects of why you are eating the way you are, how to conquer emotional eating and tools and resources to use along the way. When you purchase this course, you also get access to an online support group and emails every 3 days for at least a month for additional support!
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