Jacqueline Hurst is a leading Hypnotherapist, Emotional Eating Expert & Life Coach. Jacqueline has kindly agreed to shed light on the subject of emotional eating with a guest article for The Nutritionista, I hope you enjoy her expert opinion on what is a fascinating subject.

Emotional Eating has become a common issue with women and men of all shapes and sizes. It seems eating has become a little confusing. Eat this, don’t eat that, drink juice, don’t drink juice, eat fat, and don’t eat fat. Its never ending no wonder we are confused. Not only is this stuff thrown at us daily but we are also bombarded with what the media thinks we ‘should’ look like as well as being subtly brainwashed that we are not ‘good enough’ as we are, and instead need to buy someone’s product in order to ‘look’ and feel better.

Our culture and society is breeding a generation of selfies and in turn, low self esteem. Its low self esteem that often leads to negative body image and from that, emotional eating. If we were feeling confident and strong, would we be turning to food to cope?
Often women feel that they are ‘out of control’ they don’t ‘trust themselves’ or they need to be perfect with their eating. They have tried every diet under the sun and yet put on more weight than when they started. It’s a vicious cycle.
I help women daily get out of this rut and into ‘normal eating’.

When I say ‘Normal’ eating I mean normal eating is not defined by what or how we eat but by how we think and feel about ourselves.
Using the term ‘emotional eater’ suggests instead, that one uses food for reasons other than hunger, often to ‘cope’. The problem is a lot of the time we are unconscious we are doing it (until we have finished the whole bag of chips) and we don’t know why.
Working with women to get off the diet binge cycle and get total freedom is a fascinating journey. Its about letting go of all the so called ‘rules’ you have been taught to do it a totally different way. There is a freedom in the surrender. To have women go from being ‘obsessed’ with who has the last spring roll at a dinner party to someone who doesn’t even notice they are there, is magical.

Here are a few tips to go from emotional to ‘normal’ eating:-

  1.  Get off the ‘diet’. Diets detach you from yourself. Eating normally means you learn to listen to your body which is the only thing you need to listen to. No diet sheet, pill or potion will help you re-connect with you to start the journey of connection and understanding to your hunger and fullness.
  2. Change your ‘wagon’ thinking. Going on the wagon, being really ‘good’ ultimately and inevitably means you are going to come off the ‘wagon’ and be really ‘bad’ but ‘badder, faster and harder’ than the last time. Coming off the wagon once and for all means its all acceptable and allowable. It sounds a little scary but it’s the only way to total freedom. No.More.Wagon. and if there is no more wagon there is no more coming off… much easier….
  3.  Allowance is the key. Telling yourself you are not ‘allowed’ a certain food will only make you want it more. You know this. Allowing, like really, really allowing any food means you take the power away from the food and back to yourself. Yes, you may well eat croissants for 4 mornings a week for the whole week but, and this is a definite, by week two, croissaints just don’t look that sexy any more and actually that green juice just looks so much more appealing. Yes, this happens.
  4. Remove your judgements. Judging yourself is mean. When you judge yourself for your behaviour you are missing your lessons. Taking away the judgement means you LEARN so much more. Exploring why you did what you did and asking yourself kind questions speeds up the process of understanding yourself and therefore changing behaviour. Be kind.
  5. Talk to Yourself. I know this sounds weird but I use this with my clients A LOT. The next time you are standing at the fridge with the door open using a teaspoon to get to that last bit of Nutella at the bottom of the jar ask yourself this question ‘ If I didn’t care about this Nutella right now, what else would be going on for me – what things in my life are making me feel bad?’ The answers will amaze you……..I hate my job, my boyfriend doesn’t understand me etc., etc., Once you have some real answers you can start to look at the real stuff going on. Its never about the Nutella.

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