Subconcious Eating

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emotional eating

As a personal trainer you think that I would know better, but I wanted you to know that I’m far from perfect and have to work hard to stay on top mentally of my nutrition. Lately I have been overeating at night, and not good foods but junk/sugary foods. Monday night when the kids were in bed I sat on the couch and devoured a whole box of mini wagon wheels (8) without even thinking about what I was doing. I was just mindlessly opening each individual packet and stuffing them in my mouth. The next day I woke up full of guilt and disgust, determined to “start afresh”, but that night the same thing happened only with ice-cream.

I need to get to the bottom of why in the last few weeks has this commenced? What has changed in my life that makes me turn to food for a very short lived feeling of comfort?

Can you relate? Do you binge, but don’t purge? Do you overeat at night on a regular basis? Do you eat when you are stressed or to cope? Do you eat in secret? Do you feel like a sugar or carbs addict? Do you eat lots of junk food? Do you constantly crave food? Are you good during the day, but bad with food at night? Do you overeat forbidden foods before or after a diet? Have you been on multiple diets, yet still can’t seem to make healthy food choices or stay in control around certain foods? Or do you have restrictive eating and cheat days?

No one talks about overeating, night eating, stress eating, emotional eating, sweets or junk food eating as a serious problem. But those who have these food patterns know it isn’t healthy, and often carry feelings of shame about the way they eat.

So we need to address the big question WHY? Is it because we have no willpower and just can’t help it? Something is driving us to eat, and we can figure it out with a few simple questions we can ask ourselves out of curiosity rather than out of self-judgment.

Is something bothering me?
Do I feel like I need a reward?
Is this a food I know I shouldn’t have?
Am I eating this because I think I should or have to?

There could one or more of these subconscious questions affecting the way we are eating, and once we spot them we can start to resolve them. Consider if there are other ways to resolve what is bothering us or another way to get rewarded. Determine if our beliefs about food or the need to eat for someone else at our expense really makes sense, and if not, change our internal rules. And notice if we are eating because we stopped paying attention or because what we are eating is something we automatically associate with something else we are doing. Once we are aware of these, we can be more conscious of our choices.

So let’s address our needs, including our need to get rewarded, to be fully satisfied by the food we eat throughout the day, and to validate and address our emotional stress. We need to allow ourselves a small treat so that we stop the bingeing, make sure we have an afternoon snack and find other ways to reward ourselves ( massage came to mind almost immediately!)

I want to go back to being able to buy that packet of mini wagon wheels and know that I will stop at eating one and be satisfied and happy.


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Melissa is head trainer and owner of Precision Personal Training. Health and fitness is her life passion. With over 7 years experience in the industry she is committed to educating her clients about the long term benefits of exercise and healthy eating.

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