Combatting Stress Eating This Holiday Season

– By Kelly Ross

Understanding who we are and our emotional nourishment often starts with what and how we put food in our mouths. When emotions run strong in a way where we want to “escape”, disconnected binge eating allows us to “leave” the situation, temporarily. Our dysfunctional eating habits are usually a sign that something much deeper in the soul needs attention. Getting in touch and indentify where our Primary Nutrition is lacking starts with looking at areas such as relationships, career, physical activity, and spirituality. Listening to the feedback our bodies give us both physically and mentally allows us to trust ourselves and use food as a doorway to see what else is really going on in our lives.

According to Geneen Roth, best selling author of “Lost and Found” and “Women, Food, & God”, there are five principles of breaking free from emotional/compulsive eating and seven guidelines for emotional hunger:

1. Deep and lasting transformation is possible; if one person can break free, anyone can.

2. There are always exquisite, life-affirming reasons why we turn to food when we are not hungry.

3. Compulsive eating is a primary symptom, not the primary problem.

4. The Eating Guidelines (see below) are a path to resolving compulsive eating. By cultivating the qualities of presence, love, joy, basic intelligence, curiosity and awareness, they are both means of the journey and its fruition.

5. We eat the way we live; how we eat is also how we spend money, time, love and energetic resources.

Eating Guidelines for Emotional Hunger:

1. Eat when you are hungry.

2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.

3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety producing conversations and music.

4. Eat only what your body wants.

5. Eat until you are satisfied.

6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.

7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.

By using these principles and guidelines as a compass, emotional eating can be regulated and better understood. Awareness and connection to our nutrition through thoughtful and peaceful choices about what and how we eat, provides us with an opportunity to listen to our bodies and discover what we really need both physically and mentally.

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