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We all want to eat healthy, live well, and be our best selves. Unfortunately, stress eating can rob you of your best intentions. Fortunately, when you become a Conscious Eater, you learn how to experience and maintain freedom from stress eating.

The cycle of stress eating usually goes something like this –

  • something happens that triggers an uncomfortable emotion
  • you reach for the chocolate (or whatever you like) one more time to calm down
  • enjoying the deliciousness of it is soothing
  • you promise yourself it’s the last time and you’ll “be good.”
  • feeling guilty about eating for emotional comfort

Sometimes, it’s all of these emotions simultaneously, and that’s incredibly frustrating. The kicker is that it usually leads to even more stress in the long run.

When you need quick relief from the stress, it’s not like it can wait – you need it as soon as possible!

At the same time, stress eating isn’t a solution that lasts and if you’re reading this article, I bet you know it’s a cycle that repeats despite your best intentions.

I also bet that you know when you stop stress eating, you’ll feel in control and that’s a good thing. The goal is to be at peace with yourself, your body, and your life and ultimately make peace with food for good.

Another diet isn’t the answer because how you use food is the real problem.

You’re probably at the point where you want more than feeling good about your body – you want to own your life!

It’s motivating to keep going when you feel in control of your life. Losing weight, joining a new gym, or reading a great self-help book can be the spark, but when the sole focus is losing weight – that’s the definition of putting all your eggs in one basket. The problem is that you either “fall off the wagon,” or the excitement disappears when you reach your goal. That’s when people revert to the same Eating and physical activity behaviors. What you’re left with—well, you—and that feeling of ‘what do I do now?’ How do I maintain my balance without fearing the next stressful eating episode is just around the corner?

You want, no, you need absolute freedom from stress eating.

A whole-person perspective that integrates mind, body and heart would be great. After all, it would be best if you lived with yourself, and you want to be happy too.

Conscious Eating is a way of living in a relationship with yourself that lasts a lifetime.

You can live a long and happy life where you feel good in mind, body and heart while you experience freedom from stress eating.

Creating a relationship with yourself leads to lasting change based on trust and respect so you can take care of your emotional well-being.

You can stop stress eating and become a Conscious Eater.

Fortunately, Conscious Eating supports you in making positive, life-enhancing changes that you can integrate into your life anytime.

Conscious Eating is listening to your heart in the present moment, free from judgment, with the knowledge that you can provide yourself with the nourishment you need for a fulfilling life.

Respect, kindness, and compassion are the hallmarks of Conscious Eating.

Each time you eat, you can pause, center yourself and come to the table for nourishment and well-being.

Conscious Eating frees you from the fear of missing out, which is often fueled by the anxiety that you must have what you want now for one of these reasons:

  • it may be gone soon
  • this is the last time
  • the diet starts tomorrow

Mindless Eating can be like that.

Sometimes it’s:

  • distraction
  • avoidance
  • controlling feelings that seem unmanageable

Stress eating focuses only on the food, without regard for your nutritional needs, preferences, or whether you want to eat.

It is impossible to Consciously Eat what you don’t want or like without experiencing a conflict because you’re out of alignment with yourself.

Conscious Eating is liberating.

Conscious Eating frees you from overfocusing on food and underfocusing on your emotional well-being.

You can create the space to stop momentarily, give yourself time and identify your feelings.

What are you hungry for, and what might be satisfying?

Conscious Eating is a fundamental shift in your mindset about how you listen to yourself and take care of yourself.

Conscious Eating requires compassionate patience.

As a Conscious Eater, you’ll learn to nourish yourself in the word’s meaning.

Nourishment: to provide food and other things needed for health, growth, etc.

The goal is to truly enjoy your relationship with food and your body without guilt, negative self-talk, excuses, or shame.

Each meal is one moment in time.

Food has its proper place in your life and is one aspect of life – sometimes it’s a big part, and sometimes it’s a small part. Nonetheless, there are other equally meaningful parts of life.

Sometimes, you will eat purely for fuel. You are hungry, busy, and need nutrition to function well. Knowing when you need to be quick and efficient versus when you can savor your meal is part of Conscious Eating.

There is no such thing as a perfect eater!

Real life happens.

You may have days where there is one meeting after another and your energy needs are met through one energy bar after another or one cup of coffee too many.

You may have days when what’s available isn’t appealing and you need to take care of your body and eat what’s available.

Sometimes we eat just for energy and that’s okay.

During times like these, Conscious Eaters are kind and compassionate, knowing they make the best decisions.

You can nourish yourself and have confidence that you will have many opportunities to enjoy the foods you love.

You can get back to listening to your natural rhythms.

Becoming a Conscious Eater is often like getting back to nature. Eating more naturally, most of the time. It is like when you were little and ate because you were hungry and stopped when you were full. Even when you had something delicious, like your favorite ice cream, you listened to your body and stopped when your body let you know it was enough.

And if this was not your experience growing up — maybe you never had the opportunity to listen to your body — you can learn how to listen now.

Conscious Eating is a skill that you can develop at any time in your life.

On the other hand, stress eating is a habit you can unlearn anytime!

At some point in life, we all realize it’s not about weight or how you look in the mirror.

It is more about how you want to live with yourself.

Conscious Eating supports a relationship with yourself that is kind and compassionate in how you talk to yourself about your body and life.

Breaking free from body criticism, stress eating, or the diet mentality is difficult.

Whether it’s your conversations with others, television commercials, the latest magazine article, pop-up ads, or books, the message is how easy it will be to follow this or that plan and lose weight. Your reward will be unending happiness because a perfect body is the key to the good life. It’s a seductive message, but it isn’t reality.

If a quick fix worked, we wouldn’t have so many new diets or “failures.”

The solution isn’t easy. Freedom from stress eating takes effort.

The reward for becoming a Conscious Eater is experiencing the fullness of life.

Your life is yours to live right now- no longer being ruled by your feelings and led down the road of emotional eating one more time.

You honor your life whenever you dare to risk listening to yourself.

A wealth of knowledge about essential nutrition is easily accessible. Your challenge is to work within the parameters that fit for you. Respect any adjustments you need to make, given your specific health concerns.

This process increases awareness, adjusts, and helps you move forward with new knowledge.

There is no one size fits all; there is only what best fits you.

Most of all, Conscious Eating is natural, kind, and filled with peaceful self-compassion.

Conscious Eating breaks diet habits and leads to a calmer, more reasonable, thoughtful relationship with food.

Often, when women talk about “my relationship with food,” it comes from a position of power – the food being more assertive.

The diet mentality (there are good foods/bad foods, healthy/unhealthy food, the need to count calories, fat, carbohydrates, gluten, or whatever is the “baddy” of the moment) leaves your knowledge and wisdom about yourself out of the equation.

There is a seesaw back and forth between knowing that you need to follow your path versus the overwhelming message that this plan or that diet will be “the one.” You never really reach a middle ground.

Consciously make decisions that are guided by your self-knowledge.

Struggle happens when you can’t integrate the latest diet fad into your life. “I start my diet on Monday,” it is just too much of a jolt to the system.

Making changes gradually over time and allowing yourself to adjust to change step by step is usually more successful.

Many women have been brought up with the cultural idea that feeling good about yourself and your body is not possible. You may have grown up believing that you are supposed to look a certain way or that there is one acceptable body type.

If your body does not match up well, how could you ever feel good, never mind accept yourself?

Conscious Eating is grounded in caring and compassion and provides nourishment, not only for your body with food but also for your mind and heart with peace.

Conscious Eating Questions:

  • What is your body asking for?
  • What do you need to nurture your whole self?
  • What is your energy level for your planned activities?
  • What fuel do you need now—food, motivation, inspiration, peace, or something else?
  • What are your emotional needs?
  • Where is your heart leading you?

It can be challenging to answer these questions thoughtfully in the beginning.

Sometimes, you are swept up by emotions, thoughts, and memories and it is unclear what will calm your anxieties and fears.

Longing for food can seem uncontrollable at times.

The way out is to allow yourself some space and figure out what you need and how to nurture yourself as you experience it.

Give yourself time and space to let the questions simmer. Give yourself the gift of thoughtfulness.

3 Basic Elements of Conscious Eating – Mind, Body and Heart

1. Mind – how your feelings shape your thoughts

Most of us have the basic feelings: mad, sad, happy. One of the great things about Conscious Eating is that you learn to be more specific in identifying your feelings.

With increased emotional awareness, your emotional vocabulary grows, leading to more options for best working with them.

Rather than using food to calm or elevate your mood, you have many choices. For example, there are many ways to describe happiness. Joy, elation, glee, delight, well-being, merry. Each of these feelings has a different quality and experience of pleasure.

Increasing your repertoire or vocabulary of emotions allows you to match the feeling with positive action.

You can work with the emotion and move your life in the desired direction.

Fulfillment, happiness, and peace in your relationship with food are possible because now you are taking care of your emotional health in ways that directly address what is missing.

2. Body – How do you physically feel?

Conscious Eating naturally leads you to regularly check in with your body with kindness and compassion.

Conscious Eating allows you to check in with your subtle hunger cues and your need for movement, flexibility, and sleep.

Most importantly, you respect your body’s information and meet your needs.

A healthy relationship is built on a foundation of trust and mutual respect.

Your relationship with your body’s hunger and satiety signals needs trust and respect, too!

Conscious Eaters, stop, listen, and take good care.

Allow yourself the time to check in and wait for an answer. Remember, snap judgments lead you away from consciousness.

3. Heart – Quiet reflection

The gift of listening to your heart is one of the guiding elements of Conscious Eating.

This is where you will find the gentle strength of discernment.

With experience and practice, you will know when a craving leads to “I just want it” instead of a thoughtful, centered perspective. You can ask yourself, “Am I using food, exercising, focusing on my weight, counting calories or macros to calm an uncomfortable feeling, or do I just have a craving?” This makes choosing what you want very easy.

In sum

The heart of Conscious Eating is a movement toward a better relationship with yourself. You know from your core what is best for you, and freedom from stress eating is a big part of your needs.

The tug of war no longer exists. Instead, you’ll live your life with increasing peace and clarity.

Your needs are considered first and foremost, whether caring for your emotions, eating, having quiet time, engaging in a nurturing physical activity, or something even more fulfilling.

Deepening your relationship with yourself in a new way that brings you happiness happens constantly!

I hope learning more about Conscious Eating and how it can bring more calm, happiness and peace into your life is helpful to you.