Self Soothing to Replace Stress Eating

Self soothing with food

Emotional Eating is a common stress release, or reward choice, for most of us. Using food as a way to work through our feelings, we lower the intensity, or even numb uncomfortable emotions by chewing, grazing, searching, tasting, craving, overeating or even binging. Unfortunately, eating can lead to guilt or shame when we do it for soothing rather than to stop hunger. In Susan Albers book “50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food”, the author of Eating Mindfully, offers 5 other choices to replace stress eating:

  1. Mindful Meditation Techniques
  2. Changing Thoughts (journalling, affirmations, etc)
  3. Soothing Sensations to Calm and Relax the Body (baths, yoga, massage, etc)
  4. Soothing with Distractions (music, shopping, creativity, etc)
  5. Social Soothing (buddy system, furry friends, safe venting, etc)

Susan’s practical alternatives to stress eating are beneficial to all of us who anesthetize our difficult emotions with oral pleasures. Her crux, is to practice “Radical Acceptance”…the complete focusing on “what is” rather than on how we wish things should be…feeling our feelings and accepting them for what they are. Susan offers,”Emotional eating is the opposite of acceptance…it involves warding off feeling bad with comfort eating because we don’t accept the way we feel.” Acceptance doesn’t equal condonance, it just allows more grace to be with what is…and the spaciousness to explore our unmet needs. Check out Susan’s Book if any of these thoughts resonate for you.