How Setting Boundaries Helps with Emotional Eating.

Many of the busy ladies I speak with use food as an escape from unpleasant emotions! 

Anxiety, worry, and tension are common contributors to overeating. Because it’s so unpleasant to feel this way, all we want to do is run away from it. 

Eating can help alleviate some of these feelings. Relaxation sets in after eating when the tension in your body dissipates. In some ways, it can be a big relief. 

But eating problems aren’t really about food. They are about self-soothing.

When I was a binge eater, I didn’t understand what was happening but now I do, eating when I was stressed felt like a giant release, in the same way that orgasm or exercise, can be a release. 

Can you relate?

Women are particularly perceptive when it comes to sensing the feelings and wants of those around them. In addition, we are frequently burdened by the emotions of those around us. It’s not surprising then that were filled with an anxiety and stress trying to please everyone else.

But where do we fit in? 

How Being A “Yes” Person Affects Your Eating Habits 

You may think you’re accomplishing more or doing a good deed by saying yes to everything and everyone, but the end result is generally resentment. 

  1. * Your resentment may come from the feeling of being taken advantage of and feeling that you are missing out.
  2. * If you are at the bottom of your priority list, it has a direct impact on your eating.
  3. * If you are not fulfilling your needs and “feeding” your soul – you will end up feeding your cravings.

When your needs are being met, you don’t need to feed your emotions!

Self-confidence and self-belief might be eroded if you’re always say “yes.” This is where the concept of boundaries comes into play. 

Why Is It Important to Have Clear, Healthy Boundaries? 

Boundaries help you preserve your integrity by letting others know your limits and your willingness or unwillingness to undertake certain things (i.e. acting congruently across all areas of your life). 

Put another way, they’re the boundaries you make with others to communicate what you accept and don’t accept from them. 

Think of your boundaries as protective “emotional borders “you build between others and yourself.

It’s your way of communicating to others that you:

* know and understand what your limits are

* respect and value your time

* can make good decisions for yourself

* honour your needs and desires

* are in control of your time, and

* do not allow others to define your schedule.

Setting healthy boundaries can be challenging at first, especially if you are accustomed to saying yes, all the time. It is however, a skill that can be learned with practise.

Are Your Boundaries Healthy?

The easiest way to find out is to ask yourself: If you’re placing yourself at the bottom of your to do list, you may be eating to alleviate your emotions of stress and/or anxiety.

  • * Are you spending your time out of alignment with your desires?
  • * Are you pleasing other people at the expense of your own care?
  • * Are you doing things that you feel you should do, but not things that you want to do?
  • * Is your diary an open book to every one?
  • * Do you feel overwhelmed and resentful because you can never find time for you?

If you answered yes to at least two of these questions, you may not have healthy boundaries in place.

How to Create Safe Spaces in Your Life

As a first step in establishing boundaries, it is important to identify your values, beliefs, and standards of behaviour.

When Setting Boundaries
  • * There is no need to defend, debate, or over-explain your feelings.
  • * Be firm, gracious and direct. When faced with resistance, repeat your statement or request. 
  • * Back up your boundary with action. 
  • * Stay strong. If you give in, you invite people to ignore your needs 

Then, it’s about finding the right words to set boundaries in situations where you’re fearful of other people’s reactions or any other consequences.

I suggest the following four steps for creating boundaries to feel in complete control around food with ease and confidence.

Step 1: Honour Your Needs

The best way to set better your healthy boundaries is by practicing how to tell someone that they’ve crossed yours.

This is called honouring your needs. When you do this, you will:

  • * strengthen your self-worth
  • * have more energy
  • * have a positive out on life
  • * have peace of mind
  • * give love to yourself, and
  • * feel a sense of lightness.

Step 2: A Boundary-Setting Formula

Here’s a general formula for getting it right. 

When X happens, I feel X, because X. I need X, and would appreciate it if you would X. 

Here’s how it might sound:

  • I feel angry when you interrupted my holiday with work issues because I value my time off and mental health. What I need is uninterrupted time to clear my head and come back more productive, so I’d appreciate it if you would not contact me at all about work when I’m on holiday.
Step 3: A Formula for Saying No 

Saying ‘no’ is another way to set a boundary. It’s shame or guilt or a fear of disappointing people that prevents us from saying ‘no’.

“No is a complete sentence.” —Anne Lamont

For example: if someone asks you to lunch, but you’re trying to eat healthy and don’t want the temptation, you can simply say ‘no’ without any justification.

Here’s how it might sound: “Thanks for asking me, but I’ll give it a miss today. I hope you enjoy it!”

Now it’s your turn: 

Think of a situation where you want to say no. 

Use the formula above to write a neutral, clear and diplomatic statement that you could use in that situation.

Step 4: Let Go Of The Guilt

If you are used to putting your needs before others you may experience some guilt when you start to set healthy boundaries.

That’s perfectly normal.

If you sit with the feeling of guilt and remind yourself that you are “feeding” your needs, your guilt will dissipate, and therefore so will your urge to overeat or use other coping mechanisms.

The bottom line.

Remember that the only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who were benefiting from you having none.

Now that you know the cost of not setting the boundaries that you need. It’s time to get clear on the best places to start setting them.

  • * How can you create healthy boundaries to help you release emotional eating and guilt?

✨  If you would like help with building healthy boundaries to feel in complete control around food with ease and confidence, book a FREE 30 min Coach session. ✨ 

It’s free. And it might change your life.

👉 Click here to grab your coaching spot with me now!

Irena Geller

Irena Geller is a Sydney-based health & wellness coach specialising in the 🍓food and 😃 mood connection. She loves helping professional women to find the motivation and energy to eat healthily and exercise regularly and be consistent with these habits.

Have you tried every diet you can think of and lost confidence in yourself that you can be successful?

If you’re ready to finally lose weight and feel more confident. Book a good-fit coaching session with me to see if we can work together.

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