Learning to change your eating habits usually requires upping your awareness and acceptance of bodily sensations and adverse mood states. Being in touch and being accepting of what you go through sensation-wise and mood-wise will enable you to choose how you act rather than simply reacting in the same old eating ways.
Now that sounds like a wise approach, but it’s too abstract. Got to be able to apply it? Take bodily sensations, for instance. What if you’re feeling all jangly, like you can’t stay still? Consuming food soothes. You know it does, because when you feel jangly, you want to eat something. What better than food to soothe you?
What if you feel saggy, soggy, down, blue? You name it. What do you do to chase this unwanted mood away? Rely on the old eating behavior? Comfort foods to the rescue.
Awareness is available. Yes, awareness, which means stopping to think about what you’re experiencing. Labeling it too, if you like: “I feel like crap.” “I’m so nervous I’m jumping out of my own skin.” Making yourself aware is alerting yourself, and giving yourself a chance to know what’s going on with you. This comes first.
Then acceptance. This comes on the heels of becoming aware. To accept is to let whatever is happening happen. It doesn’t mean you don’t feel it. Acceptance is your way of telling yourself that it’s all right that you’re feeling this way. You can withstand what’s happening to you. Got that?
But acceptance isn’t over yet. You don’t have to only passively accept. By being accepting you open up other possibilities. And you can take any of these other possibilities and use it. For example: You’re accepting your feeling. Probably telling yourself you can do it. Maybe it passes, and you learn that what you are feeling and how you are feeling have a beginning, middle, and end. You don’t have to end it simply by turning to food for relief. The mood or sensation ends itself. It runs its course. Or, you accept and you have a new respect for yourself; and you learn that respecting yourself breaks this feel, run to food, and lose respect pattern even more. So next time when you’ve got to accept, you don’t have so much to accept.
Give it a try. Awareness and acceptance, that is.