Tag Archives: emotional overeating

Successful Stress Management Techniques

Beth J Shaw author of YOGAFIT

Stress Management means basically, learning how to manage stress, by witnessing it, and releasing it.

Stress management, is simply, a daily process to let go of tension stored in the body and mind. Without this letting go process, we become candidates for ulcers, heart attacks, migraines and premature aging. All known to be caused by stress. Stress Management techniques, allow us to discover and experience, how, we hold emotions, thoughts and experiences in out bodies. Exercises will offer us the opportunity, to tune into different moods, feelings, attitudes, and states of consciousness beside the low-grade stress levels, most people in our society, operate under. In our busy information society, we are constantly bombarded by external stimuli. A good stress management program, can help tune out the exterior world, and allow the participant to drop inside their bodies, and find a place of stillness. Some techniques that aid in this process, are deep breathing, extended stretching, and body scanning – all done in a quiet, warm room, with soft music playing, or simply, the relaxing sound of one’s own, deep breathing.

We learn to increase the probability of desired moods, and feelings through our heightened self–awareness, while simultaneously decreasing negative states of anxiety. Excess of stress can also shutterstock_224788153result in an extended period “flight or fight syndrome” which over time can drain the adrenal glands. Participants in a stress management program gain a powerful awareness of how to positively influence health, reactions, feelings and response. A good mind/body class can give clients the tools they can use for the rest of their lives.

Yoga is the 6,000 year old secret to health and vitality. Yoga can be considered technology for getting back in touch with our true essence and ourselves. It is a way of remembering the health and wholeness that is our natural state of being. Yoga, when broken down to its most simple form is breathing and feeling.

Through this breathing and feeling we learn to control our reactions to events and people. It is not the events and people in our lives that give us stress but the way we react to them. What makes yoga unique in terms of stress reduction is in its multifaceted approach. By working at the physical and psychological levels concurrently, yoga reduces stress at each level and this reduction in stress is supported by the work done at other levels. Yoga postures combined with deep breathing facilitate deep relaxation that combats stress.

Physically, yoga massages the skeletal system which supports bone mass and growth while taking the stress away from the supporting muscles and tendons. Yoga mechanically removes tension from the muscles through stretching. The steady even yoga breathing reduces stress levels in the body. Stress response, is accompanied by rapid, shallow breathing., Yoga encouraged deep diaphragmatic breathing activating a relaxation response. Yoga also massages the internal organs reducing high blood pressure, stress in the cardiovascular system at the level of the heart, arteries and blood. The nerves are massaged and stretched through yoga, conducting messages; throughout the body.

Emotionally the body believes what the mind believes. Affirmations about peace, calm, and tranquility, along with positive imagery are conveyed to the nervous system. Yoga brings greater relationship with others, life, and us. As we begin to explore these relationships more, we see which interactions genuinely support us in moving towards calmness. As we become more relaxed through yoga and stress management classes, we release addictive behaviors, which are often used to relieve stress. Yoga brings awareness to the emotional blocks that limit our experience of life. Our perception of life has been conditioned by our experiences and sometimes we close ourselves off from feelings and emotions. Through yoga we learn to bring awareness to all parts of ourselves with the understanding that through integration, we come to a natural place of balance. Many of our stressful habit patterns are conditioned. Yoga teaches a whole set of patterns which are helpful in reducing stress.

7 Things to Improve your Mood that Don’t Involve Food or Drink


A huge part of overcoming patterns of emotional overeating is surrounding yourself with resources to support your sense of peace and relaxation that you can turn to in moments of stress—resources that can serve as alternatives to consuming extra food or drink as a means of calming down.

Attempting to quit the habit of overeating all by itself is likely to make you think too much, even obsess, about the absence of the food you would usually want to eat to soothe yourself. It’s important to give your mind another place to turn, to have an stockpile of other behaviors and practices at hand that will enhance your mood and direct your mind toward something equally as relaxing, but different from food and drink. The more options you provide yourself, the better.

Here are seven excellent ideas for stress-reducing activities you can choose that don’t involve eating or drinking. In theory, you could do every one of these things every single day to reduce harmful eating patterns.

Include as many as you like into your daily routine and see what works best for you!

1. Go for a Walk or a Run for 25 minutes


When you feel an urge to eat or drink coming on, try stepping out for some fresh air and a little exercise. Movement and breathing, especially outdoors, will clear your head and has amazing power to reduce stress. You don’t have to jump into high intensity interval training—even light exercise has been shown to boost your endorphin levels and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone.) Walking/running will produce an even more substantial and longer-lasting rush of the same “happy” neurotransmitters released by eating fat and sugar, with health benefits as opposed to detriments.

  1. Buy a New Lipstick


Pop into your favorite cosmetics store and buy yourself a new lipstick. Trying on a little makeup is a really fun and simple way to improve your mood by appreciating your natural beauty and creating a new look to enhance it. A new lip color will make you feel sexy and confident—show off your new look to your friends instead of filling up on unhealthy food and complexion-dimming cocktails.

  1. Get your Hair Blown Out

A quick wash and blow out is a really light-hearted and affordable way to relax, boost your mood, and appreciate your appearance. Instead of trying to beat your stress with food or drinks, pamper yourself—enjoy a nice scalp massage and the joyful thrill of a little hair make-over.

  1. Call a friend

Too often, we try to face challenges alone without accepting or asking for the help we need. When you feel at risk of going over the edge with food, call up a good friend or family member and tell them how you feel. Most likely, he or she will lend an understanding ear and encouraging words, helping you get some perspective on your mood. Even if you don’t feel like discussing your troubles directly, talking to someone you love will transport you into a more positive place and make you smile.


  1. Drink some Green Tea with a Friend or Coworker

We all need moral support, and feeling the presence of the people we enjoy is sometimes the thing we need most in order to stop fixating on whatever we are struggling with. Try siting down for a cup of green tea with a good friend or a co-worker. Like exercise, socializing has been shown to release endorphins, and the green tea will supply you with tons of antioxidants plus a balanced caffeine boost that will take your mind off any emotional hunger.

  1. Do a 10-minute Inversion

Practicing inversions is like giving your body a direct line to a better mood. Inversions increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain and upper endocrine system, rebalancing your hormones and neurotransmitters, and delivering a sense of calm and improved mental clarity. Try an inversion to nix your stress before it leads you to overeat. It has an amazing capacity to turn your mood around, and it only takes 10 minutes! Try a head or shoulder stand if it’s in your yoga practice, or, for a more restful inversion, simply put your feet up the wall, lie flat on the ground, and breathe deeply.

  1. Get a Massage or Reflexology

Stress and anxiety always manifest in the muscles, and as tension adds up over time, it becomes harder to relax your mind and your body. Drop into a nearby spa or nail salon. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes, a massage or reflexology treatment can provide tremendous relief, prevent emotional trigger states around food, and improve muscular, digestive, and hormonal health. See it not as an indulgence, but as an investment in your health.

It is entirely possible to conquer troubled patterns with food, but you’re prone to run into unnecessary struggle if you don’t provide yourself with tangible alternatives to your old eating habits. Providing and remembering a vast number of options for yourself will make this process easier for you.

Try incorporating these seven new habits into your routine, along with 7 Foods You Can Compulsively Overeat without Getting Fat, and experience the inherent happiness and tranquility of using means other than food and alcohol to enhance your sense of wellbeing.

For further exploration into whether of not you may be struggling with emotional overeating, read 7 Signs of Emotional Overeating.

Sometimes abstinence provides a way for you to reset your eating patterns. Beth Shaw and many YogaFit trainers like to use the Purium cleanse occasionally to take a break from food and just drink a delicious green vegan drink as well as amino acids for protein. Purium has mastered the art of phytochemistry (the rejuvenating benefits of plants), capturing the most potent whole food plant extracts from around the globe to repair your body at the cellular level. For more information, please visit YogaFit.com.

Seven Foods You Can Compulsively Overeat without Getting Fat


Earlier this week, we talked about compulsive and emotional eating in recognition of Emotional Overeating Awareness Month.

Even if you are not struggling with a regular pattern of emotional overeating, it’s still common to sporadically run into moments where you find yourself compelled to eat out of stress, nervousness, or boredom. Whether you’re feeling distressed or battling with oral fixation, and you just need something to snack on, the trick is finding a middle ground by surrounding yourself with foods that you can eat in abundance without adding to your waist line or damaging your mood and health.

Here are seven foods you can eat, and keep eating, without an ounce of guilt or remorse:


Broccoli is a low-calorie powerhouse of nutrients, and for a non-starchy vegetable, it has a decent amount of protein. Broccoli is both filling and delicious, eaten raw for a satisfying crunch, or steamed for warm, comforting nourishment.

Hearts of Palm

Hearts of palm are incredibly flavorful and healthy, delivering a rich concentration of potassium, B6, and fiber in its velvety, tender texture. Hearts of palm are delicious to snack on right out of the jar and also taste wonderful sliced up in tossed salads.


Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are nature’s candy! These shiny red globes of flavor are sweet and savory at once, providing a high quantity of lycopene, an antioxidant that protects the skin and lowers your risk of diseases caused by cellular damage. For a summery and vitamin-packed snack, eat a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes—whole for a refreshing burst, or halved and mixed into your salad.

cherry tomatoes

Water Chestnuts

Water chestnuts are especially satisfying because they taste richer than they are. Their crunchy yet smooth texture says ‘potato’ to the taste buds while packing a relatively tiny caloric value and zero fat and cholesterol. Munch on these for a filling snack that feels more indulgent than it is.

water chestnuts

If you’re staying away from sugar but wresting with a sweet tooth, reach for an apple, or two, or three! Apples will relieve your sugar craving with their sweet juiciness while delivering plenty of fiber, a host of vitamins, and most importantly, pectin, which aids in digestion and prevents the build up of bad cholesterol.



Have you every heard someone say that celery burns more calories than is contains? Well it’s true. Celery, comprised of about 75% water and 25% plant fiber, takes more energy to digest than to eat and nourishes you with extra vitamin A, C, and K to boot. You can really go to town on this veggie—the more you eat, the better!



The flavorful, delicate flesh of artichokes supports digestive health and liver function and provides tons of cancer-fighting antioxidants. High-flavor, low-calorie artichokes can be eaten in a variety of ways: hot or cold, grilled or steamed. Artichoke hearts make a perfect appetizer or addition to a salad, and the meat at the base of steamed artichoke leaves makes really fun finger food.


If you’re feeling a compulsive need to eat, you can go to town on each of these foods without a trace of worry about the consequences. It’s difficult to stop depending on food as an emotional soother, and, in the process of breaking habits of emotional overeating, it’s normal to experience setbacks. The most important thing is to have compassion for yourself in this process, and to support yourself by planning ahead and making healthy options available and plentiful.

For further information on methods and supplements to curb your cravings, read 7 Ways to Reduce Sugar Cravings and 7 Supplements to Cut Sugar Cravings.

7 Signs of Emotional Overeating


April 1st marks the beginning of Emotional Overeating Awareness Month, giving us an excellent opportunity to explore our relationship to food and the emotions that tend to belie our eating habits.

In the clinical sphere, emotional overeating is defined as a “maladaptive coping strategy” involving an increase in food intake in response to negative emotions. In other words, emotional overeating is a behavior people resort to as a way of avoiding or alleviating states of distress.

Overeating is not uncommon: a Pew survey finds that 6 in 10 Americans say they eat more than they feel they should either often (17%) or sometimes (42%), but it’s important to be aware of your reasons for overeating, because if they are regularly related to stress, sadness, or other troubled emotional states, you could be experiencing a disordered pattern, using food to deal with psychological stressors, and putting yourself at risk of developing binge-eating disorder, from which 2.8% of Americans currently suffer.

The impulse to soothe yourself when you run into stressful or emotionally difficult moments is a good one, but its extremely important to make sure you aren’t using methods of self-soothing that harm you, adding to or worsening preexisting struggles in your life.

In the interest of spreading improved self-awareness and self-care surrounding food this month, I’ve provided a few questions below to help you check in with yourself about your eating habits, and piece apart whether you may be using excess food to face emotional challenges. As you answer these questions for yourself, try to be honest with yourself while withholding judgment.


Does stress lead you to eat more?

Do you find that when you’re anxious or under lots of pressure, you need to eat more in order to calm down? This is a sign that you could be using food as a way of tolerating negative feelings.

Do you eat when you’re not hungry or already full?

Eating without an appetite could be a sign that consuming food has become a conditioned or mindless response to difficult feelings or conditions in your life. When you eat, is food what you really want, or is it acting as a placeholder for a different kind of need?

reward eat

Do you eat to reward yourself?

Of course, it’s ok to reward yourself with a treat as a fun exception to your usual eating habits, or for a special occasion, but it’s another thing to feel you’re are only allowed to eat after achieving something specific in your daily or weekly routine. Feeling like you only deserve to eat at certain times can be part of a self-critical pattern that distances you from listening and responding to your needs.

Do you only eat certain foods alone?

Are there some foods you only feel secure eating when no one’s looking? Emotional overeating is often linked to feelings of shame that can lead you to hide from others and from yourself out of embarrassment about what or how much you are eating.

eating alone

Do you regularly eat until you’ve stuffed yourself?

Are you often eating not only past the point of needing more, but also of wanting more? If you’re continuing to eat beyond feeling full and into feeling uncomfortable or sick, this is a real sign that food is playing a role for you other than satisfying hunger.

Do you depend on food to feel safe?

Do you feel anxious when you don’t have certain kinds of food or extra food at your disposal? This is a sign you may be depending on food for a sense of comfort you feel you can’t otherwise access. What else could you do to achieve the same sense of comfort and tranquility?


Do you feel out of control around food?

Feeling powerless about what or how much you eat or like you can’t stop when it comes to certain foods or situations is a signal that you may be experiencing a sense of powerlessness or lack of control surrounding other issues. Check in with yourself about the foods and circumstances that may trigger you to overeat.

If you answered ‘yes’ to three or more of these questions, then you may be struggling with habits of emotional overeating. The good news is that if you think that you are an emotional overeater, there are a variety of treatments available, many that you can administer to yourself. Many of us have resorted to various forms of self-medication as an attempt at tolerating or solving life problems. The most important thing to remember if emotional overeating is a struggle for you is to forgive yourself. Our instinct to care for ourselves can sometimes get out of hand, but it’s worth celebrating the fact that there are many growthful solutions to this that will allow you to serve your needs without contributing to your struggles.

For further inspiration on how to curb patterns related to overeating, check out 7 Ways to Reduce Sugar Cravings.