Emotional Eating – My Tips to Conquer This Epidemic

Lifestyle, Nutrition Advice
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You know that moment. You are staring at your fridge or pantry. After a sad or tired or frustrating or even happy day… you know you shouldn’t, but you just can’t help it. You reach for that ‘forbidden’ or ‘delicious but naughty’ food. You have a little conversation in your head – “Oh I have had such a long exhausting day – I deserve it. Don’t I? ” Or “ I exercised for 20 minutes longer today, I deserve it. Don’t I?” Or “I have been so good this week.”

You go for it.

I can relate to you. I have been there.

 WE EAT BECAUSE WE ARE SAD, HAPPY, ANGRY, ANXIOUS OR DEPRESSED. We eat when we are celebrating and when we are happy. But this is not the purpose of food. Food has now taken more importance in our lives than it should. It has become our emotional savior. We need to uncover the pain behind these feelings in order to effectively stop these cycles of emotional eating and binge eating episodes.

The food brings you so much pleasure in that moment. It masks any pain or exhaustion you could be feeling – for that mere 30 seconds of pleasure.

Oh, and the guilt…

The feeling that destroys our health more than any ‘bad food.’

You think, “Well stuff it. I have already eaten ‘the forbidden.’ I clearly have no willpower – I may as well continue to binge. You do whatever you can to keep feeling that 30 seconds of pleasure. You don’t want it to end.  This is when you often overeat to the point that you feel sick. You feel physically sick, but what is even more damaging is the way you put yourself down in these moments. You beat yourself up. You tell yourself how pathetic you are.

This cycle leads to an incredible amount of stress on the body. Cortisol is high and your digestive system shuts down. This leads to hormonal havoc. High cortisol will always lead to fat storage in the end.

The guilt from this emotional eating episode will be almost too much to handle. You feel like an absolute failure. This is an emotional eating episode or a food binge. This is a modern day epidemic, in my opinion. You are not alone.

What are my top strategies?

  • Consult a counselor or psychologist. This is my biggest piece of advice. A professional will help you uncover the emotional baggage or pain behind your episodes. It will change your life. I can honestly tell you it changed mine. It became my outlet to release pain – rather than turn to food.
  • Write it down. Write how you are feeling before or after the episode and reflect on it. Just releasing the emotions beforehand can help prevent or at least delay an episode. Writing gets you in touch with the feelings that you are using food to numb.
  • Drink water. If we’re dehydrated, we’re even more likely to turn to food when we’re not really hungry.
  • Breathe deeply. Taking deep, cleansing belly breaths will help center you. It will help you focus and look inside to identify what it is you really need.
  • Talk to someone you love. Call your bestie, your mom, even just talking to your cat can put some time and space between you and a binge. It’s another way to release your feelings and you may find that it’s just the distance you need to prevent it.
  • Take a bath. Do something else to treat yourself and to relax. It will put you in a different environment, and sometimes it’s exactly what you need in that moment.
  • Eat enough protein. Be sure you eat a protein-rich snack between meals to keep your blood sugar stable so you do not suddenly get too hungry – this will help prevent overeating.
  • Do not skip meals. This is a surefire way to to get so hungry that a binge is inevitable. Keep your blood sugar stabilized with regular meals.
  • Enjoy YOU time. Incorporate rest each day – even 10 minutes will do. Read a chapter of your favorite book, relax with your legs up against the wall, or sit down to watch your favorite television show. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s something you find enjoyment in.

All of these tips take practice. Just as the outlet of bingeing becomes habit, so too does the act of doing something else in response. It will take time. But know that each time you utilize one of these tools instead of a trip to the kitchen to soothe yourself, the closer you are to being binge-free. And you really can get there!

Emotional eating is a topic that is very close to me, and I’ll be exploring it in more detail in my upcoming book, the Clean Life. I truly do believe that you can get your life back, and I want to show you how.

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Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My  copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time.  My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.

With kindest regards Samantha

I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.

When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.

I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.

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Hey Jessica!
I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again

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I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!

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Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.

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Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!

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