HOW YOGA HEALS EMOTIONAL EATING–AWESOME GUEST POST BY ISABEL FOXEN DUKE
How Yoga Heals Emotional Eating
We all know what it’s like to make food choices based on our emotions. Most of us have comforted ourselves with a bowl of Haagen Daaz or chili cheese fries at some point or another — like when we’re stressed out at work, going through a break-up, or generally dealing with L.I.F.E..
Thankfully, there are plenty of resources available to help us cope with these kinds of compulsive urges.
The problem is…
None of them work without practice – practice is the key – and practice is why yoga shines as the ultimate tool in overcoming any compulsive behavior around food.
In Yoga we practice skills that allow us to eat according to out bodies’ natural and intuitive cues, rather than our emotional triggers. Practicing these skills on the mat, is how we maintain a connection with our body’s true needs off the mat (e.g. at the dinner table!).
Here are my three favorite ways that yoga trains us NOT to eat emotionally when we otherwise might.
1. In yoga we practice feeling our feelings, regardless of whether or not they’re comfortable. When we’re in a pose that’s not our favorite (hello, anything involving my hip flexors), we practice feeling that itchy, restless feeling that usually sends us straight to the cookie jar, in a safe and controlled space. Feeling what’s happening in our bodies without running away or distracting ourselves is required for overcoming compulsive behaviors around food.
2. In yoga we practice mindfulness and notice subtlety in our bodies. Are you paying attention to how your breath feels going in and out of your lungs? Are you hungry or are you thirsty? Are you at your “gentle edge?” “Does your body need more food or more air?” Paying attention to your bodies cues on the mat will help you do the same in life — particularly when it comes to hunger and fullness.
3. Yoga teaches us to honor and love our bodies, rather than abuse them. When we feel compassionately towards ourselves, rather than hateful or shameful, we actually end up eating less, because we are not triggered by stress, shame, and/or frustration. (Note: this can be an easy lesson to miss, particularly when we show up in “workout mode”).
This may sound counterintuitive, but it also may be what’s keeping you from losing that last 5 lbs. Not sure you believe me? Download my free guide “How To Not Eat Chocolate Cake” [www.isabelfoxenduke.com] for more counterintuitive methods to weight loss, including the role of pleasure in eating right, why loving our bodies has to come first, and why stringent diets encourage bingeing. See you there!
Isabel Foxen Duke is a Certified Health Coach and Emotional Eating Expert. She helps women make peace with their bodies and food, so that they can finally look great AND feel great.