Conscious eating is one of the fastest ways to overcome stress eating.
Conscious Eating gives you the skills to transform your relationship with food and eating so you’re in control.
When you learn emotional mastery tools, they’re transferable to many challenges in life, not only to overcome stress eating.
Conscious Eating isn’t a diet. It’s being present and intentional about what you eat, how your body feels and what your mind needs for satisfaction.
As you make choices for long term shifts in the way you relate to yourself and your body, you’ll also learn how to be more patient and compassionate too.
Keep in mind that this is a mindset-transformational shift in your relationship with yourself.
It’s a big and we’ll take it one step at a time.
Mindset is the way you think about things, or your ‘frame of mind’ and the way in which your thoughts shape your actions. It’s more than simply differentiating between a pessimistic (glass half empty) or optimistic (glass half full) point of view.
Conscious Eating is a mindset change toward mindful growth in how you think, feel and relate to yourself.
This isn’t a ‘think differently and your behavior will change’ approach to stress eating.
It is working with yourself toward a goal or value or belief—whatever word fits best for you—and knowing that you can create what you need to achieve your goal and live in harmony with your values.
A mindset shift is takes into account your full experience as a person in making change, mind, body and heart so you can overcome stress eating for good!
Becoming a Conscious Eater is learning to reshape how you care for yourself.
Conscious Eating is forward thinking and growth enhancing. You are learning to do things differently. Learning how to stop, listen, identify and live with compassion and kindness for you!
The most time-consuming part of change is when you’re preparing to make a change, but you’re not quite ready yet.
Small changes over time, bit by bit, adjusting to the newness, and continuing to move forward is effective. Being mindful of what’s working and what’s not and then making adjustments. Use the experience, both good and challenging, to help you know which way to go.
When you’re able to use your time to learn about what you want it is worth the investment of your time and energy.
The good news is that when you stop, identify your needs, and listen to yourself, with kindness and compassion, you are much further along in the process to overcome stress eating for good.
4 Conscious Eating skills to overcome stress eating.
An easy way to remember this process is SILK; Stop, Identify, Listen, and do all of this with Kindness in your heart. Here’s the framework for it to happen –
SILK – Stop
Being consumed with food, telling yourself that you will be ‘good’ or ‘healthy’ or you’ll eat clean, only takes you further away from your goal. It puts so much responsibility in manipulating food that it’s difficult to focus on your goals and values.
This surface level attention keeps the focus on food rather than your relationship with it. It’s manipulating the food in an attempt to have a better relationship with yourself.
This feeds the problem.
The way out is risk to shift your focus to your relationship with you and away from the food.
When you stop, you give yourself the space to consider other options that when you overcome stress eating.
The opportunity you open yourself to is growth. This is where a shift in mindset takes hold for your well-being – when you give yourself time and space to make conscious choices.
Are the food rules you live with something like this; ‘I can’t eat ______, ______is bad, ______ leads to ______ health issue, etc.?
Have you repeated some version of this statement to yourself so many times that you accept them as fact? If you eat one of the forbidden foods, do you experience shame and guilt?
Your challenge is to ask yourself if you are physically hungry and if so, what is my body asking me for right now?
The next question to ask yourself is – what do I emotionally need right now?
It may be that you don’t need food at all. You may need sleep, rest, friendship, love, space, quiet, movement, etc.
And finally, ask yourself what do I need for you mind, body and heart to feel content?
You might not be very confident in your answers at the beginning. That’s OK!
Remember, this is a process of moving away from someone else’s ideals and moving toward your own self-knowledge for your unique relationship with yourself.
SILK – Identify
One of the first questions I ask the people I work with is, what are your needs? I would guess that 99 percent of the time they know that I’m not asking about food and shelter or even to change their body or behaviors in some way.
I know this because more often than not, they will look me in the eye and tears will well up with the knowledge that there is something missing.
There is a deep longing for growth that has stalled in the quest for a different body, as if that’s a guarantee of happiness.
When you stop, take a breath and allow yourself to clearly look at your life and know that it’s not totally about your body then you have a realistic opportunity to overcome stress eating.
One of the most convenient times to do this is while eating.
Do only one thing while eating.
It is extremely difficult to mindlessly stress eat if eating is your only activity.
Practice being in the present moment and notice where your mind leads you.
It takes practice to sit with yourself while eating, especially when eating is your way of escaping discomfort.
If you’re reading a book, watching TV or working, it is nearly impossible to feel your emotions, hunger or fullness cues, or identify what you truly need in life.
Your attention is soaked up by the action in the story or the problem being solved.
You’re not in the present; you’re on autopilot.
As you become more comfortable with identifying what you need, you will also get clear on which foods you enjoy, how your body responds and what works best for you.
SILK – Listen
Growth requires intentional change and the way to get there is to increase your awareness of your negative self-talk and the thoughts and feelings you experience; outwardly silent, yet inwardly booming, crashing like a giant wave on your hope, motivation, and faith in yourself.
This means leaving negative self-talk, criticism and blame out of the equation.
The fight is over, a truce is called and the peace talks are happening.
The peace process is a little more complicated, takes more patience and you can do it.
Little by little, with consistent intention toward growth, negative thinking eases up, allowing room for growth.
Remember this is a shift in the way you live your life. It is worth the effort to overcome stress eating.
We live in a time where our bodies are fair game for judgment, objectification, shaming and attempts to live up to someone else’s expectations.
You may be waiting for whatever obstacle—real or imagined—to go away. The way to remove the obstacle is to acknowledge it and build a strategy that works for your life.
Ask yourself –
- do I want to participate in this type of conversation with myself?
- if I’m really listening with my core values, what might I hear instead of all of the negativity?
A growth mindset is assessing what needs to change, working toward the goal and making prudent adjustments as needed.
Listening means moving away from controlling and toward acceptance.
Sometimes acceptance is confused with: ‘this is who you are, it’s not going to change, so just get over it.’ I’m glad that this is totally, absolutely wrong in this context!
Acceptance is looking and listening, so that your relationship with yourself can grow – mind, body and heart!
If you desire change, it is possible through healing, respect and kindness.
Accepting who you are today frees you to use the energy spent criticising yourself, in more productive ways.
Listen for all of the good you can do and all of the happiness you can experience.
SILK – Kindness
Looking clearly, listening honestly, and stopping to pay attention, all give perspective and motivation so that you can make adjustments and keep growing.
Conscious Eating is about curiosity, flexibility, and a willingness to make mistakes, so you can grow from them.
Popular diet and eating plans are overwhelmingly all about the quick fix and won’t help you overcome stress eating.
They require you to abandon values and good judgment about your nutrition and focus exclusively on changing your body.
The assumption is that a different body is the key to happiness in your life.
This devalues your humanity.
Dieting is not about health; it is about an illusion of control. An illusion that you’ll have the life you want if you follow the diet. If it worked, it would work!
You can shut off your feelings and ignore them for only so long. They’ll overflow and come rushing back, with the accompanying onslaught of stress eating and feeling badly about yourself.
The truth is that Conscious Eating is about learning life-long skills for your health.
Many of the skills will help in other areas as well. SILK helps you use your self-knowledge to live a happy and fulfilling life.
The big picture view of your life.
Kindness and compassion provide an excellent foundation for living your life in harmony.
Mistakes give you the opportunity to make more informed choices so the next time, so you can overcome stress eating.
When you become a Conscious Eater, you can trust your decisions, because they are grounded in your self-knowledge and values.
Choice is freely made.
Remember, SILK: Stop, Identify, Listen, and Kindness. The path will always lead you back to you!