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Jennifer Taitz

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Food Book: 7 Ways To Stop Emotional Eating

Posted: 07/12/2012 1:38 pm

"Today's the day," we declare, "that I'm starting my summer diet." This is minutes before we find ourselves in a staring match with a scone.

We all have a rational sense of what to eat, and when. We've come a long way in terms of nutritional knowledge. And yet somehow, the diet section on Amazon.com expands along with our bellies.

The problem with facts about food is that mouths are myopic and stomachs don't strategize. We may have the facts, but decisions also involve our feelings. Many people who struggle with feelings also struggle with eating.

Diets advertise thinness, yet eating healthfully offers so much more than a tenuous bikini body. "Emotional eating" is a popular term used to describe eating that is influenced by emotions both positive and negative.

Eating to cope with feelings makes us feel more, not less. When we come to rely on food to cope with difficult feelings, it can interfere with our ability to use healthier methods of dealing with them--it keeps us from uncovering our personal potential. One of the worst feelings a person may face is a sense of hopelessness. Learning to sit with emotions and overcome emotional eating may provide an experience of mastery, or real accomplishment, trumping the short-lived pleasure we notice when we indulge.

Here are 7 tips based on the latest in research psychology to help you change your relationship with eating, and more importantly, with yourself. With these tools, you may actually start a real summer break:

Taste your values
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Interestingly, one of the main ways we may come to struggle with eating stems from overvaluing your weight and shape. If we are preoccupied by our appearance, and our perception of our appearance is negative, we're destined to feel pretty badly. Many people who care a lot about their appearance try rigid diets and often, strict diets lead to overeating. A wise stance may be to lower the weight of weight in our lives and consider what actually deeply matters to us, such as volunteering or connecting with friends. Weight loss is a goal--it's not a fulfilling life path.
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