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Life Strategies with Nat for the Entrepreneurial Woman

Episode 22 was recorded live on Tuesday June 4, 2019. To listen to the recording, click below:


Did you see this week’s episode – How to Conquer Stress Eating with with Bethanie Stephens? If so, you can catch it at the end.

I have to say that after researching feelings, emotions, stress, human anatomy, and suffering from emotional eating myself, it’s something we need to talk about because it can impact our body image and confidence.

Stress eating is a form of emotional eating, and it usually is overeating for most people.

More specifically, it’s when you consume food in response to your feelings, when you are not even hungry. In other words, your emotions — not your body — are in control of when and how much you eat.

I read this article in Psychology – Emotional Eating? 5 Reasons You Can’t Stop, and the writer, Jennifer Kromberg PsyD, she talked about 5 reasons you can’t stop.

Funnily enough, it has nothing to do with self-discipline, so it’s not about having little to no self control or willpower. Let’s take a look at those reasons.

5 reasons you are stress eating

For me, it was a habit, but it was also triggered by big life events and transformations like going to university, schooling part time and working full time while getting my MBA and CPA for 3.5 years, new jobs… I was in a constant state of stress and I didn’t even know it!

And so my weight was up and down, I was emotionally imbalanced, and eating uncontrollably. I even started to get headaches and body pains. That’s when I knew I needed a change.

I can definitely relate to all of the below.

1) Self-awareness or rather unawareness

You are simply unaware. Emotional eating can be an unconscious thing that you do like when you’re just eating things because they’re right in front of you, without even realizing it, until suddenly there’s nothing left, or continuing to eat even when you’re not hungry.

This is where mindfulness comes in. Really be in control and be mindful of what and when you are eating. Practice makes progress so just be patient as you start to build this new habit.

2) It feels good

They don’t call it the pleasure-principle or comfort food for nothing. We are built to avoid pain and danger and seek pleasure and safety.

Sadly, it’s usually the unhealthy, fast food, preservative type food. If we reached for veggies in times of emotional discomfort, we’d be OK. I don’t know about you, but celery and carrot sticks are not so appealing when I’m stressed.

I used to want the sweet, salty and fatty foods because it’s the high-fat, high-calorie foods we love that make us feel better. The more fattening, sweeter or the saltier the food, the better we seem to feel, until we don’t.

Digize essential oil is a great natural helper by the way… for any tummy issue – dilute and rub clockwise on your belly.

3) It’s better than facing painful or difficult emotions

You can’t handle your feelings. This is starting to be discussed a lot actually, well, at least in what I’m seeing. Stress eating can happen as a coping mechanism or flat out avoidance in dealing with negative or difficult feelings.

Learning to balance your emotions using your senses and deal with conflict are ways to overcome this.

4) Body image, vulnerability and shame.

When you hate your body, you can’t help but feel negative, shame and hatred toward yourself. It’s hard to love yourself and care about yourself to make the changes and choices you need to make to feel your best.

You’ll never be happy after you reach your goal, you need to be happy now – your mindset is everything. It’s what we focus on in my mentorship program and where we start when creating a vision.

5) Physiology

Or in other words, not putting yourself first, like when you let yourself get too hungry or too tired definitely leaves you vulnerable to emotional eating.

When your body is hungry or tired, it not only sends strong messages to your brain that signal it to eat, but we’re also not at peak state.

This is why rest, food, air, water, body, sun are 6 of the 12 core life elements that we need to make sure we are putting first.

5 ways to stop emotional eating

So, now that we know what emotional eating is, let’s consider some techniques you can use to help conquer it. Be patient with yourself as always and no judgement. Habits are really hard to change.

  1. Learn your triggers – start a food journal that helps you understand your eating patterns and how you feel.
  2. Recognize Hunger signals – Learn what true hunger versus emotional hunger feels like
  3. Limit your trigger food – you know your trigger foods so just leave them out of sight to avoid the risk of temptation
  4. Don’t skip meals or eat too fast – skipping meals is a recipe for disaster because you’re going to get really hungry and eat too much too fast, which isn’t good for anyone!
  5. Create alternatives to eating – find healthier ways to relax after a tough day or when you’re bored.

Still not sure if you’re a stress eater?

You can ask yourself some of the following question.

  • Do you ever eat without realizing you’re even doing it?
  • Do you often feel guilty or ashamed after eating?
  • Do you often eat alone or at odd locations, such as parked in your car outside your own house?
  • After an unpleasant experience, such as an argument, do you eat even if you aren’t feeling hungry?
  • Do you crave specific foods when you’re upset, such as chocolate or ice cream when you feel depressed?
  • Do you feel the urge to eat in response to outside cues like seeing food advertised on television?
  • Do you eat because you feel there’s nothing else to do?
  • Does eating make you feel better when you’re down or less focused on problems when you’re worried about something?

Emotional eating is a way we find temporary relief from many of life’s challenges, which is why it’s so important to talk about. It’s not healthy, and it’s getting in your way of reaching the next level of success.

When you aren’t in control of your emotions, and you let stress affect your life and how you feel about yourself, it’s that much more difficult to be your best. Make a commitment to making small changes everyday so that you can overcome emotional eating.

Until next time!

xo Nat

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Natalia Edelmann

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