Emotional eating can lead to us feeding our feelings, not our hunger. Eating well is not defined by what or how you eat, but by how you think and feel about yourself – mindful eating. Whether it’s overeating, not eating enough or a combination of both, emotional eaters often use food to cope with stress, stifle anger, to get in control of their weight loss, or to try and relax or even celebrate. Here are top health tips to help stop emotional eating in its tracks, to help you get in touch with real hunger and fullness, and to help you learn to control your cravings:

1. Get Off The ‘Diet’

Diets detach you from yourself – Mindful eating means learning to listen to your body (which is the only thing you need to listen to!). No diet sheet, pill or potion will help you start the journey of connection and understanding your hunger and fullness, you simply must be openand in tune with what your body is trying to tell you.

2. Change Your ‘Wagon’ Thinking

Forcing and limiting yourself to a diet and mental routine where you think you are being really ‘good’ with your food regime ultimately and inevitably means you are going to 'come off the wagon' – and this is a vicious cycle. Coming off the diet 'wagon' once and for all is the only way to total freedom. No. More. Wagon!

3. Allowance Is Key  

Telling yourself you are not ‘allowed’ a certain food will only make you want it more. Really allowing any food means you have the willpower to take the power away from that food and give it back to yourself. Yes, you may well eat croissants for four mornings in a row for the whole week but, and this is a definite, by week two, croissants just don’t look that sexy any more! That green juice you've been putting off will start to look much more appealing.

4. Remove Your Judgements

When you judge yourself for your 'bad' behaviour, you are missing the core lesson. 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 to you!

5. Talk to Yourself

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?’ The answers will amaze you – whether you hate your job or have relationship issues for example, you can start to look at the real stuff going on in your life and realise, it’s never about the Nutella.

6. Remember, It’s A Journey 

You might not ‘get it’ straight away but the point is, you are trying – this is way better than repeating a destructive pattern of dieting and then bingeing!

7.  No One Has ‘Perfect’ Food

No one is eating perfectly all the time – perfect does not exist. Some days we eat fruit and vegetables and other days we eat burgers and fries, it's normal! You're normal. To become a normal eater you must remember that perfect doesn’t exist (no matter what you see on social media!)

8. Love Yourself

The best way to learn how to eat is to come from a place of love, first and foremost. You can never get to ‘normal eating’ by hating yourself. You have to love you first.. and why not, because you are after all, amazing!

Read next: Sugar Hangover – The Sour Issues You Need To Know

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