Beating Emotional Eating

Today we continue with our special motivation and fitness psychology article series with some serious information about what some experts believe is the #1 cause of obesity in the world: Emotional eating. But what is emotional eating really? Quite simply, you may be eating for reasons other than satisfying physical hunger, providing energy, supporting your metabolism and feeding your muscles, too often, and it may indeed be keeping you overweight.Are you an emotional eater? Do you eat for the wrong reasons? Do you eat mindlessly, stuffing down food with nary a conscious thought?

Take this quiz and find out:

Do you frequently eat for any of these reasons?

1. To obtain a good feeling
2. For comfort
3. Out of sheer boredom
4. Out of habit (for example, every time you watch TV)
5. For purely social reasons
6. To cope with stressful events
7. To fill a void or missing need
8. To recapture a feeling or memory associated with a food (makes you feel “like being back home with family again,” etc)
9. To cope with depression
10. To cope with (or in response to) other feelings such as anger, loneliness, frustration, disappointment, grief, lack of control or anxiety

If so, then you’re an emotional eater!

As long as you are an emotional eater, you may continue to struggle to follow even the very best laid nutrition plans. That’s what’s so frustrating about this issue. You KNOW your nutrition (and exercise) program would work… if only you could stop sabotaging yourself with inappropriate eating!

Conventional solutions to emotional eating are helpful. Much of the traditional wisdom focuses on conscious eating (mindfulness or AWARE-ness), as well as setting up your environment for success (ie, keep the trigger foods OUT of your house!).

Awareness IS an important part of the solution, but an incomplete one. There are lots of people who are ALREADY AWARE of their emotional eating problems, but they feel powerless to stop them

Why? It’s because traditional awareness-only solutions to emotional eating focus only on willpower and the conscious mind. But that’s not where your power lies.

Your true power source is your non-consious mind, which is the part of you responsible for automatic behaviors. Think about it: If the non conscious parts of your mind can handle complex tasks like beating your heart and circulating your blood without consulting your conscious mind, then how easily do you think it can control your eating behaviors?

Your ability to change inappropriate eating behaviors (eating for the wrong reasons), starts with your understanding that you have been running patterns on automatic pilot (unconsciously), without even realizing it.

The first step towards freedom from emotional eating is to develop conscious AWAREness. But there is more to it than this. Conventional approaches tell you to become AWARE of your “mindless eating” but then they don’t tell you how to change those old patterns.

I’ve been spending the last few years researching this topic of eating behaviors and emotions and I’ve been researching Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) for many years before that. It was NLP that really helped me fill in the missing piece and make what I can honestly and legitimately call a “breakthrough.”

I’ve discovered numerous quick and easy, yet very powerful ways to neurologically short-circuit the old emotional eating behaviors and literally re-wire you with healthy eating behaviors that run on auto pilot just as easily as the old negative habits did. I’ve organized them into a very concise, succinct system.

It’s called, The AWARE Program: 5 Steps To End Emotional Eating. It’s the same program that is also summarized in my hard cover book, The Body Fat Solution and the complete AWARE formula is now available in a digital ebook format.

Here’s my 5 step formula:

1. Raise your AWARENESS about your habitual eating behaviors. In a word, this means eat mindfully. Many people eat without thinking. For example, stress eating can be an unconscious pattern and you often don’t even realize when or how much you eat impulsively in response to stress. 3 easy ways to raise awareness include eat exclusively, eat slowly and keep a journal.

2. WATCH out for your emotional eating triggers. Every time you eat emotionally, there is a cause, or “trigger.” As mentioned above, stress is the BIG one, but the list of potential triggers could go on for pages and may include feelings (loneliness, frustration, sadness, etc), places (buffets, kitchen, etc), people (mom, spouse, drinking buddies), or events (parties, movies, T.O.M, etc)

3. ARREST the negative patterns when they happen As you raise your awareness, you’ll shift from an unconscious, mindless eater, to a conscious, mindful eater. That doesn’t mean you won’t be assaulted with temptations and encounter trigger situations. However, once you are aware, you can interrupt the emotional eating patterns and THINK before you act.

4. REPLACE the old emotional eating behavior with more constructive alternatives. nature abhors a vaccuum. It’s rarely enough to simply stop an old behavior in its tracks. It’s important to replace the old behavior with a constructive new one. Alternative coping mechanisms can include all kinds of stress relievers (meditation, yoga, relaxing music, a jacuzzi/bath/sauna, deep breathing, etc), a talk with a friend, and even exercise.

5. ESTABLISH new beliefs about food and the right reasons for eating. Food is for fuel, for feeding muscle, and providing energy. Although there are appropriate occasions to use food for other reasons, when you establish beliefs such as “Food is fuel” your eating behavior will be vastly different than if you habitually use food to cope with stress and bad feelings. This is why I’ve found that athletes and bodybuilders are rarely emotional eaters – they always view food as fuel, for energy and construction material for the body.

There you have it – that’s my entire 5 step formula. If you’d like to learn a LOT more, including more details on emotional eating triggers and how to deal with them, how to find alternate coping mechanisms, how to balance proper nutrition with an enjoyable social and family life, and much more, you can get the entire ebook, 5 Steps to End Emotional eating, for FREE, for the next 3 days only by purchasing the Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle system from (Previously it has only been available to members of my Burn The Fat Inner Circle community).

Not only that, during our special OPERATION MOTIVATION bloginar this week, you can also get SIX MORE absolutely FREE bonuses with the purchase of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle.

If you’d like to learn how to burn fat naturally – without drugs or fat burner pills – visit the Burn The Fat website.

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Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, personal trainer, gym owner, freelance writer and author ofBurn the Fat, Feed The Muscle(BFFM): Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom has writtenover 140 articles and has been featured in IRONMAN magazine, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development,Muscle-Zine, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise. Tom is the Fat Loss Expert for and the nutrition editor for and his articles are featured regularly on literally dozens of other websites.