The number one cause of obesity is something known as “emotional eating.” Many people have heard this term, but few are aware of just how strong a hold it has on their health and well-being. If food is your way of dealing with stress and anxiety, you are not alone. That said, you don’t have to continue to fall prey to getting your emotional support from overeating. Here are some steps that can help you avoid the pitfalls of emotional eating.

1. Discover Your Triggers:

Get out a piece of paper and spend some time considering what it is that actually triggers you. What is the source of your emotional discomfort? Think about all the different life situations you’ve been through, especially the ones that left you feeling hurt, upset, angry or alone. Divorce? Write it down. Childhood abuse? Write it down. Make a note of all the difficult emotional times you have experienced. Your emotional eating triggers are rooted in these upsetting events and traumas from your past, even if they occurred long ago. Beginning to become aware of the emotional baggage that you carry will help you to recognize when some of these old issues are being activated by events in the present. This is the first step to altering how you respond to these triggers in the present.

2. Keep an Eating Journal:

Many weight-loss programs suggest that you write down what you eat. This is similar, but instead of simply writing down the food you are consuming, write down what you were feeling and thinking when you ate it. What inner voice were you trying to silence when you ate that tub of ice cream or that whole box of cookies? What stress were you trying to deal with? Making the connection between your eating habits and your emotions is a huge key to breaking away from unhealthy eating patterns. 

3. Start Listening to Your Body:

This is the most important step of all. Believe it or not, your body is constantly communicating with you and telling you what is helping it and what it hurting it. The trick is to tune in and pay attention to the signals it is giving so you can provide it with what it really needs rather than covering up the emotional hurt or aches and pains with unhealthy foods. It is possible to find out exactly what your body is telling you by using the energy that flows around and through your body. This energy field can tell you quite clearly what it "thinks" about that tasty morsel you're about to put into your mouth! The simplest way to get in touch with the energy of your body is to use what is called the “Sway Test.” 

Here is how it works! 

Turn off the TV and any music playing so that you can focus entirely on the test. Stand in a relaxed posture, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Drop your hands to your side and close your eyes, allowing yourself to completely relax. Notice that your body will tend to gently sway forward if you are thinking about food that your subconscious mind wants, and that it will sway backward if you are thinking about foods that you perceive to be harmful!

Try thinking about the word "salad." Imagine the most delicious, healthy salad that you've ever eaten. When your innermost self-connects with the thought of all the fiber, vitamins, minerals and nutrients that go along with that salad, your body will begin to sway forward. 

Allow yourself to return to a central, relaxed position. Now focus your mind on your favorite guilty food pleasure. As you think about this ultimate form of junk food, realize that your subconscious is somehow aware of all the artificial ingredients in that product, the humectants, the preservatives, the food colorings and so on, that contribute to your weight gain.

The moment your subconscious makes the connection with the energy of that junk food, your body will start to sway backward in an attempt to move you further away from eating something that is bad for you. This exercise typically doesn't take more than 5 – 10 seconds and it gets easier with practice. Most people have no difficulty with it. Just relax completely and focus your mind in a powerful way upon whatever food you choose. Test your food in this way before you eat it. It may just surprise you to find that your body actually wants to have a choice in what you are eating!

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