Emotional eating is a common barrier for people who want to improve their health and fitness. But it’s not something that Drew Manning, a leading fitness expert and founder of Fit2Fat2Fit, understood until he intentionally gained 75 pounds to develop more empathy for his clients. (Read more about his story here.)
Before Manning gained weight himself, he would think, “Put down the junk food, stop drinking the soda, and go to the gym every day. How hard can that be?’” But when he developed an emotional dependency on food as he gained weight, he learned that his advice wasn’t so easy to follow.
“Food can become a numbing mechanism,” says Manning. “Emotional eating became real for me. Food is a hard addiction to stop because food is legal, convenient, affordable, and part of our society.”
So, how is your relationship with food? Do you eat when you’re sad or bored or stressed? Here are Drew Manning’s top tips for breaking the habit of reaching for those potato chips or that bowl of ice cream when life gets hard.
1. Learn how to meditate.
“Meditation helps you to be more present in the moment and aware of your emotional habits,” Manning says. “Being able to be present in those stressful moments can help you thoughtfully respond instead of react.”
2. Hold yourself accountable.
Manning advises, “Find a coach, friend, family member, or online community to help keep yourself accountable so that you’re not doing this journey alone and to remind you that you can do hard things.”
3. Make a gratitude list.
“A daily gratitude list helps to rewire your brain to look for things to be grateful for,” he explains, “which in turn can help reduce stress when we want to reach for those unhealthy foods.”
To learn more about Drew Manning, visit his website at fit2fat2fit.com.
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