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Overcoming Emotional Eating: An Ayurvedic Perspective

Ayurveda says that when we begin living unconsciously, dysfunctional behavior and emotional eating can begin to take place. Many of us turn to the comfort of food, overeating in attempt to numb out the pain. We numb out fear, loneliness, dissatisfaction with our careers, sexual frustration, boredom in our marriage, resentment, anger, insecurity and sadness. Ayurveda suggests that when we bring loving awareness to these behaviors the pattern of emotional eating will start to unravel at the root.

Let’s begin with expressing your feelings. While allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable emotions can be scary, it is important to release any blocked energy in the solar plexus. The solar plexus is located around the navel and is a source of personal power and governs self-esteem, and the power of transformation. This area around the naval also controls metabolism and digestion. Therefore, allow your life to become more fulfilled by opening yourself up emotionally.

Here are some great tips to help with emotional eating:

Observe why you eat. Are you emotional eating? No judgements, just be aware. Become aware of your habits, and what you use to cover up what you’re feeling. Do you pick up the chocolate when you feel overwhelmed or exhausted at work?

Begin to bring consciousness to the way you eating. Breathe deeply into your belly. Are your standing up? Are you in the car, on the cell-phone? Slow down. Find a calm place to sit and eat lunch. Be with the food.

The next time you have an emotional craving for food, simply go for a light walk. A brisk walk for 20 minutes while breathing in fresh air often provides just what’s needed to tame wild food cravings.

Eat slowly and chew the food well. Stop eating before you feel full, to allow the belly the space and time it needs to digest what you have eaten.

Don’t put out your fire. When we overeat, we weaken our digestive fire. Whatever we cannot digest will turn into accumulated pollution and toxins in the gut. This has a dramatic impact on how we feel, and is the primary reason why people who eat healthy food have excess weight. It is also the reason why people who eat lots of healthy food can remain thin, dry and brittle.

Give yourself loving attention and give yourself what you need. Before eating, take a moment to close your eyes. Bring your attention to your belly and breathe slowly. Ask yourself, “What do I really need?” Before eating, check in – Am I hungry, or am I just emotional (tired, lonely, exhausted, bored, etc.)? This is the crucial moment where we have the capacity to move from the unconscious realm of compulsive and dysfunctional behaviors into the realm of awareness. This is healing.

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