here are the five hidden keys to permanent weight loss

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here are the five hidden keys to permanent weight loss you can get healthier and live a more energized life without dieting or restriction.

Discover the 5 Hidden Keys to Simple, Healthy, & Permanent Weight Loss

Conquering Emotional Eating One Step at a Time

Have you found yourself digging into a pint of ice cream when you’re feeling sad or snacking on a bag of potato chips when in need of a pick-me-up? We’ve all been there! That rush of feel-good chemicals when you turn to your comfort foods keeps you coming back for more—it’s called comfort food for a reason. 

Food cravings may also be your body’s way of telling you that it needs a specific vitamin or nutrient. For example, those sugar cravings you’re having may actually be an indication that you need magnesium!

When you eat your feelings, your brain begins to create a link between food and emotions. You start to crave those sweet and fatty foods that help console you when you’re not feeling mentally or emotionally at your best. Eating when not hungry can lead to poor gut health, weight gain, and decreased overall well-being. 

Conquering emotional eating can be challenging, but making small, sustainable changes one at a time can help set you up for long-term success! It’s about shifting your mindset and breaking old patterns that no longer suit you. Out with the old habits and in with the new! 

Understand that it’s a normal emotional response to seek comfort in food. Acknowledging this and finding healthy solutions will help you take charge of your journey toward optimal health and wellness. 

Step 1: Understanding Your Internal and External Stressors 

Identifying your internal and external stressors is the first step to conquering emotional eating. Internal stressors are things like negative self-talk (“I always do this!” “I won’t ever lose weight!” “I hate how I look!” You get the idea.), having unrealistic expectations for yourself, and feeling like you always need to be perfect. 

Meanwhile, external stressors can be significant life changes, such as the death of a loved one, issues at work, financial hardships, or relationship difficulties. While we can’t necessarily prevent these events from occurring, we can control the way we respond to them. But this takes time and practice! 

Note which stressors you’re currently experiencing and pinpoint those that have caused emotional eating in the past. This will help you identify which of your internal and external stressors impact your emotional eating tendencies. 

Step 2: Removing the Guilt From Emotional Eating 

Let’s all agree to stop labeling foods as “junk food” or “bad.” This creates a negative relationship with food, further perpetuating negative thoughts about the foods you eat. Avoid those strict rules around food—they end up having the opposite effect by causing feelings of guilt or shame! Don’t punish yourself by never allowing yourself to have the occasional soda or bag of chips.  

If you made a food choice that doesn’t align with your health goals, remember that you ate what you did because you felt emotional. But you’re working on creating healthier habits! This is part of identifying your tendencies and working towards choices you can be proud of. 

Step 3: Finding Ways to Manage Your Stress Levels  

It’s important to identify the source of your stress to help you better understand and manage it. Recognize when you’re being hard on yourself and allow yourself some grace. Not all situations are within your control—you might experience coworkers taking their frustrations out on you or traffic delays that cause you to run behind schedule.

You’re only human, and nothing is more human than emotions! Think about what’s causing your stress, then find healthier, more productive ways to tackle it head-on. 

If you’re wondering what to do instead of emotional eating, there’s no straight answer! What works for one person might not be the best option for you. If you’re stressed, try journaling, meditating, walking, or practicing breathing exercises. On the other hand, interacting with close family and friends through text, call, or video may help combat feelings of loneliness.  

Ask yourself what’s worked to manage stress in the past and what hasn’t been helpful. Once you realize what’s causing you to want to eat your feelings, you can choose an activity to help you work through those emotions. 

Step 4: Conquering Emotional Eating Through a Healthy Diet 

Use healthy food as medicine to heal your emotional eating. A nutritious diet full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats can keep you feeling fuller longer and avoid eating when you’re stressed. Turn to healthy snacks instead when cravings hit, like nuts, Greek yogurt, popcorn, and fruit. But it’s ok if the occasional cookie makes an appearance! 

Healing your gut through your food helps boost good gut bacteria, which can influence your mood.   

Step 5: Eating Foods That Reduce Stress in Your Body 

There’s no miracle cure for stress, but there are foods that can help. Foods rich in antioxidants, like blueberries, kale, and dark chocolate, help stop or delay cell damage. Eating flax seeds, chia seeds, and fish can boost your intake of omega-3s. This helps fight against inflammation, the body’s natural response to stress. Limit caffeine, alcohol, and excessive sugar, which can worsen your anxiety and stress. It’s ironic how we turn to these when stressed, right? 

Step 6: Practicing Mindful and Slow Eating Habits 

Emotional eating often occurs on autopilot. You feel sad, so you grab a snack to feel better. You don’t even think twice about whether or not you’re hungry. Mindful eating means becoming more aware of what you’re eating, how much you’re eating, and why you’re eating it. 

Remove potential distractions and engage your senses as you eat. When you sit to eat your meals, place your utensils down between bites. Take sips of water periodically and chew your food slowly. It’s not a race to the finish line!  

Aim for 20-minute meals, as this gives your body enough time to feel fuller and more satisfied.  

Balancing Your Food and Emotions 

Before you reach for that box of cookies or another slice of pizza, ask yourself: Am I actually hungry, or am I just feeling down? It’s perfectly normal to indulge now and then (you’re encouraged to treat yourself!), but when you start to see unhealthy habits between food and emotions, it might be time to work on conquering emotional eating. 

Everything is fine in moderation. You’ll enjoy some foods daily, while others will be a periodic treat. There’s a difference between eating an entire bag of candy when feeling down versus having a few pieces and exhibiting the ability to stop. Learning how to manage your stress levels while being aware of what you eat and how much you eat is part of conquering emotional eating. 

If you’re looking for an accountability partner, my 1-on-1 coaching can help! Let’s work together to identify your emotional eating patterns and create a customized plan to help you overcome them.

After years of fad diets, I found myself in an unending cycle of failure. Trying to figure out a healthy lifestyle on my own left me feeling confused and alone. After discovering the science behind food and the behaviors that impact lasting change - I've never gone back. Now, my passion is to help women live energetic and confident lives without the yo-yo dieting.

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