Tactics to help prevent using food to self sooth
At the start of the year I wrote an article title “Are you using food to self sooth?” I received a lot of interest over this article and have worked with a number of clients already this year who have this relationship with food. In this article I am going to look at some practical steps you can take to help move away from self-soothing with food by adding in positive behaviours in exchange for mindless munching or emotional eating.
Your first step should always be to increase awareness around eating habits and seeing when you are using food to self-sooth. By doing this you can become more aware of your triggers and take steps to prevent those instances from occurring or at least be more aware when they do occur.
Once you have that awareness what do you do next?
One thing I find works well with a lot of my clients is trying to introduce positive lifestyle habits at the point at which they would normally reach for the cookie jar.
Look to introduce some of the below methods in replacement for turning to foods in association with emotions, whether boredom, frustration, anger etc.
Look at introducing meditation techniques. Just short periods focusing on mindfulness and bringing you centred again can be crucial when preventing emotional eating. Read my article 10 tips for beginners on meditation.
Start to practice diaphragmatic breathing. Read my article A basic guide to diaphragmatic breathing.
Go for a 5-10min walk outside preferably, focusing on your breathing.
Listen to some of your favourite music. Music has a great ability to change our mood and focus.
Sometimes eating can be a signal of thirst misinterpreted. Drink a nice big glass of water and increase mindfulness around how you are feeling.
Static stretching can be really good practice to break up the day and change your mindset.