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Emotional Eating: How to Control Your Eating Pattern with Self Awareness and Mudra technique

We are all guilty of emotional eating at some point in our life. This is an area that we all need to look at closely because it affects our health. 

How spiritual discipline can keep you out of emotional eating 
While I was in my teens, I underwent spiritual mentoring that taught me how to control the mind and to discipline it. Spiritual discipline required me to automatically stem any sense of taste with the power of the mind. It worked wonders for me because the moment I ate food, my mind had the power to block the sense of taste. I didn't have any craving to eat more. This technique also gave me control on maintaining body weight too. 
When I let go of the serene spiritual world that protected me, everything changed. My eating pattern went for a toss and became influenced by my emotions. I lost control of disciplining the mind, so did my control over maintaining body weight.
How relationships trigger your emotional eating pattern
Recall the years that have changed your eating patterns. You will recognize that emotional eating sneaks in like a thief. It becomes a camouflage for all the stress, the pain, the anger and the disappointments you had to tackle. 

Simply put, the quality of our relationships determine our emotional eating pattern.
If you are like me, I am certain that more than actual hunger, it is more of an emotion that triggers your eating pattern.

Tackle Emotional Eating Pattern NOW

So, it's time for us to tackle it, right? Here are some  useful tips from Dr Deepak Chopra.  
1. Start by asking yourself, “What am I hungry for?”
This question triggers an awareness within us steering our thought patterns to recognize why we feel the need to eat more than we need. If you make this a daily habit, it will totally rewire your brain and the habit of emotional eating.
2. Another useful technique to control emotional eating is to practise a ‘mudra.’  Dr. Deepak Chopra calls this an awareness recall method to practice every time we feel a craving to eat more.
First step - You have to touch your forefinger to your thumb (this is called a mudra) and as you hold this position, ask yourself
·        What ami hungry for?
·        Ami famished? Ami comfortable? Ami uncomfortable?
·    Ami just craving for food because I am hungry for something like attention, affection, appreciation? Or ami just bored?
When you are able to make this a daily practice, your brain will send the proper signals to interrupt your emotional eating pattern.
Be happy, Manage your Energy
When you feel happy and at peace from within, you won’t feel the need to indulge in ‘emotional eating.’ The key to happiness begins with cultivating a positive mindset, relationships that are meaningful to you and by working meaningfully to empower others creatively

Ultimately, it’s like Tony Schwartz famously proclaimed, ‘Manage your energy, not your time.”
What’s your take on emotional eating? How do you tackle it? Do share tips, beliefs or anecdotes that have inspired you to change your lifestyle eating patterns. 


Vinaya Naidu said…
This is such a vital topic that needs to be given its due importance in school. Most of us do not even know that we are suffering from something like this.
Personally, I have experienced the other side of emotional eating - my way to combat stress, frustration, anger, agony led me away from food, as a result i suffered from deficiencies of vitamins, minerals,etc. Doctors prescribed calcium, iron and multi-vitamin supplements for the white patches on my skin,anaemia, etc.
There was a phase in my life I started my day with chawanprash, complan milk, Seven Seas codliver oil, and supplements!!
Finally, over the years in my search for a wholesome healthy life, i realized the secret was to be happy, come what may. And not to tackle my frustration on food. I did not receive spiritual guidance but somehow got hold of the right books,at the right stage in my life, by the grace of Almighty.

This post is an eye-opener for some..for those who live in denial and those who need heavy workout to get rid of the extra, if we all only realize the importance of contentment in our day to day lives, we can stay away from all kinds of diseases.
Firstly, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this, Vinaya, esp as it is personal and can be painful. I felt sadness seep in where I read your words about your testing phase that began with so many supplements and also a sense of pride that you, dear friend, have so many admirable accomplishments that have evolved to shape the person you are today. Knowingly or unknowingly, the testing phase has given you more strength and positive energy that the rest of us can look towards and learn from too.

I also share your view that food, nutrition and eating habits should be scientifically taught in our schools. Because we, in our own different ways, are adversely affected by it during childhood and the phases of growth.

You have nailed it where you point towards happiness and that's what my post has also attempted to conclude.

This is what I believe: So much of what we eat and how we eat is determined by the happiness quotient or the lack of it.

You mentioned books that helped you. Could you list some of them? That would be helpful.
Asha said…
Loved this post, dear swapna.

After my son's birth, i went on a post natal depression which strikes many new moms. during those days i found solace in food and it started showing on me body.

It took yoga to put me on the path. My yoga instructor says one of the reasons of emotional eating is stress. she often stresses one should not reheat food or refridgerated food. One has to eat fresh food. Only fresh food has Prana. one of the best thing to to ensure nutritional food is to do more cooking by yourself and gain control of the nutritional quality. Nutritious food when cooked properly will keep you healthier and stress free. While artificial and processed food creates unhealthy and artificial appetitie and reflects on our emotions.
@Asha - Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Most of the mothers I have spoken to have shared with me about post natal depression and I have undergone it too. The only difference is that I had read up a lot on it beforehand and I knew that it was coming. Still it didn't make much of a difference when it actually hits on you, right? Even preparing doesn't help when you are caught in the middle of a scary storm. You just have to let it pass by and then you witness the devastation it leaves behind. So, yes, I can totally connect with what you are saying.

You are lucky to have found a yoga instructor to guide you with the right tips.

When you mentioned the part about eating fresh food and not refrigerated food, I was reminded of what the spiritual masters say - they also emphasize about prana being present only in fresh food. With the hectic life that we lead, sometimes we take short cuts and opt for refrigerating and reheating. Once in a while, people like me need such timely reminders from gentle, loving bloggers like you to take food, life and nutrition with mindfulness. Thank you so much for that :)
jk said…
NGDCs .. I am not against emotional eating, provided one has enough confidence to have enough money and environment to buy or prepare the food in future too as it might be difficult to change once established food habits fast .. In younger ages because of Anxiety for the next activity, perhaps eating food might not seem that much a priority, but with age probably with lesser anxieties of future one need not be much discouraged of emotional eating too provided the valet permits .. but then even with ageing if the anxiety still persists like younger ages probably dieting can be a good thing perhaps in line with some of the principles of "KaThopanishad" that seem to promote the "Belly Fire" for a better existence with / in the world ..

regards and Sairam,
Vinaya Naidu said…
My home was a library with books collected by my dad over the years...I discovered the vast beauty and mysteries of this world through them...books have been my spiritual guides!

The first book that changed my whole outlook towards life was 'Autobiography of a Yogi' by Yogananda Paramahansa, where I learnt about willpower, self-discipline and of course karma.

The other significant book where I discovered natural everyday health secrets was Nature Cure book by Dr. H K Bakhru
Many thanks for stopping by to respond to my questions Vinaya.

Wonderful to hear about how books have been your spiritual guides. There can be nothing more exciting than that.

I have been deeply inspired by 'Autobiography of a Yogi' by Yogananda Paramahansa, because it has many spiritual incidents during his childhood that are exactly similar to mine and one which I was constantly questioning because I wasn't sure if I am imagining things or whether the spiritual realm and its mysteries were in some way reaching out to me.So, yes, I can say that reading his book is where I learnt about spirituality and the world within ourselves that is within our power to control.

I have not read the Nature Cure book by Dr. H K Bakhru but thanks for mentioning it here. I plan to buy it at the earliest. I am all for Nature Cures in treating ailments.

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