This is a direct copy of a guest post I wrote for I Quit Sugar on 5 strategies to deal with emotional eating in the moment. The original post can be found here. You can also check out the I Quit Sugar 8 Week Program here.
There is a reason chick flicks show break-up scenes with a girl on the couch with a whole tub of ice cream and chocolate wrappers as a blanket.
And while I think it’s great that we can laugh at these scenes and at ourselves, it’s also a serious battle that many women face on a regular basis. One that can become a significant source of anxiety, guilt or shame.
There are physiological reasons why we crave sugar when we’re emotionally stressed. Which means there are some great strategies we can implement to help manage such situations and avoid emotional eating.
1. Don’t keep tempting foods or “trigger foods” in the house.
If Tim Tams or a block of Cadbury are an all or nothing free-for-all for you, it’s best to save them for special occasions or when dining out.
2. Buy smaller.
Ever opened a big block of chocolate with the intention of having a couple of squares, only to hear said chocolate block calling your name from the cupboard?
Yep. I know. It can be hard. One way to help is to buy smaller packets of indulgent foods. It creates another “barrier” or “stopping point” as I like to call it. It was actually one of the first steps I took to heal myself from emotional eating.
3. Practise the 20-minute rule.
Once you experience an emotional eating trigger, or craving and are about to act on it, set a timer for 20 minutes.
In that 20 minutes you need to drink a big glass of water or herbal tea, take 10 deep belly breathes, do ONE chore (e.g. put the clothes away), and ask yourself “Will having X food solve X feeling? How will I feel after consuming X food?”.
Then once the 20 minutes is up, reassess the cost versus benefit of giving into the emotional food craving.
4. Keep a journal.
Every time you manage to successfully implement the above strategy and avoid entering an emotional eating food coma, write down how you feel.
Likewise, when you DO give into the emotional food cravings and have a “binge” episode, write it down.
Use this journal to reference back to during your 20-minute rule above to remind yourself of how you felt when you both avoided and gave into the emotional food cravings. It will help, trust me.
5. Change your reward system.
This is more of a long-term, root cause strategy that I’d encourage you to actively work on in the background.
Instead of routinely rewarding your achievements or behaviour with food (even healthy food), I want you to reward yourself with some other form of self-care.
Some great ideas include getting a massage, a facial, a date night without the kids, a new pair of yoga pants or an afternoon hike in the woods.
This will help create a healthier relationship with food. Remember, you do NOT have to earn your food!
Pop any questions you have in the comments below or on social media!
Want To Know More?
If you haven’t already received your FREE eBook, “The Perfect Digestion” solution, then lookout for the pop-up or banner.
I’ve also produced an amazing self-help guide on “Healing Digestive Discomfort”– this is the best resource on the market for beginning to diagnose and treat your own gut issues.
Green smoothies can be really helpful in increasing your vegetable intake…but far too often a green smoothie can turn into a sugary beverage.
I’m sorry to say but this is going to do more harm to your liver detox efforts, gut health and overall inflammation levels than the benefits of ½ a cucumber you chucked in to call it a green smoothie.
If you’re serious about gut health or taking care of your liver, then increasing your intake of high-quality vegetables should be a high priority. A (proper) green smoothie is a great way to about it, and those vital nutrients will soon be working wonders on your insides!
The OPTIMAL Liver Detox Smoothie
A green smoothie should (in my opinion) contain low sugar fruit only, or use ½ serve of a higher sugar fruit. It should also contain as many veggies as you can.
My go-to’s are cucumber, frozen zucchini (trust me), spinach, and avocado. Of course you can branch out more than that.
Adding “thickness” by using ice, frozen fruit/veg, avocado or coconut milk also makes it more like a meal. The smoothie becomes something you have to “eat” rather than drink. This helps with satiety and promotes a healthier response in your body.
Finally, I’d encourage you to limit the green smoothies to once per day. Don’t displace other nutrient-dense solid foods in your diet simply for the sake of convenience.
Want To Know More?
I have some amazing resources to get you fired up and on the way to a successful Liver Detox!
STEP 1: Get your free copy of “The Perfect Digestion Solution” (sign-up via the side bar above)
Most people have been lead to believe that a liver cleanse is a simple matter. Just combine a lemon detox diet with a “Feb Fast” or “Dry July”, right? Well allow me to set the record straight!
Time To Liver Cleanse
So you’re feeling like crap, hey? Was it 1 too many drinks over the weekend or just a slow decline into a sloth-like toxic state of being?
Either way you’ve decided that enough is enough. It’s time to clean out the old bod! Well a liver cleanse or detox is a great place to start, and you’re about to find out what it takes to make sure you succeed!
Beneath The Surface
Despite the dumbed-down approach to liver detox diets by trendy celebrity magazines, it’s actually a delicate 3(ish)-phase process.
You should also be aware that liver cleanse is a misleading term! You cannot manually force toxins from your body, so the idea of consuming weird and wacky potions is simply a ploy to make you buy unneeded products.
The BEST approach you can take for a liver cleanse is to consistently make positive diet and lifestyle choices that allow your body to naturally purge toxins.
For those looking for a technical explanation on what actually happens during the liver detox process I’ve covered the main “science-y” elements beneath (face it, I’m a foodie nerd).
There are three phases of liver detoxification and all involve slightly different enzymes, nutrients and processes.
The first phase of liver detoxification mainly involves the family of P450 enzymes. These little critters are responsible for converting toxins that enter your system into “intermediate metabolites”. This is like round 1 of a boxing match where you soften up your opponent before looking for the knockout!
An important side note: these metabolites are actually MORE toxic than the original toxins! Which is why it’s REALLY important that the whole system is working well and we transition into Phase 2 pronto.
How did those toxins get there? Through your food, alcohol, the air you breathe, your own endogenous (internal) hormone production, chemical products that you put on your body and various other compounds that you come into contact with. (MAJOR CLUE 1)
Are you already beginning to see that there’s more to a liver detox than simply cutting back on your weekend binges?
Phase 2 Liver Detox/Cleanse – Toxin “Breakdown”
In Phase 2 our little toxic metabolites are changed yet again. They’re turned into water-soluble molecules, allowing them to be excreted safely through bile, stool and urine.
The main processes that ensure this happens include glucuronidation, sulfation, glycination, glutathionation and amino acid conjugation. Holy cow Batgirl!
The only thing you need to know about these tongue-twisting terms is that they need nutrients to work properly. (MAJOR CLUE 2)
Phase 3 Liver Cleanse – Toxin “Purge”
If you thought Phase 2 sounded complex then Phase 3 makes it look like finger painting.
An “antiporter activity” system is triggered in your small intestine, hence why gut health is so important to detoxification. (MAJOR CLUE 3)
Once Phase 2 has converted our metabolites into water-soluble compounds, these antiporter proteins get to work. They act as pumps, pushing the hydrophilic (water loving) metabolites out of hepatocytes (liver cells).
This is where things commonly go wrong. If there’s underlying inflammation in the liver, then Phase 3 detox occurs very sluggishly.
Highly toxic metabolites start to accumulate, like a quickly growing traffic jam of angry motorists stuck behind a poor L-plater (we’ve all been there).
I picture Augustus Gloop stuck in Willy Wonkers chocolate pipe, moments before the pressure becomes too great and he’s rapidly ejected! See what happens when you eat too much chocolate…
A Note On Intermittent Fasting
The same toxic build up occurs if you practise intermittent fasting but have inadequate gut health.
In this instance, fasting is a form of detoxification because it causes your cells to break down fat. And fat is largely where the body stores excess toxins.
This then becomes a big problem if the liver doesn’t have enough nutrients available to convert and purge toxins. And it’s compounded by inadequate movement of waste out of your system.
So if your gut and liver health is poor already then you have no way to eliminate these free-floating toxins and the vicious cycle repeats itself!
Nutrients and Bacteria For A Successful Liver Cleanse
As you can see, liver detox is quite a complex process! It’s important to note that Phases 2 and 3 especially require more nutrients than you would get purely from a green juice fast alone.
Bacteria also play a significant role in these processes. Beneficial bacteria strains help support the detox process to run as smoothly as possible.
However, the reverse is also true of dysbiotic or pathogenic bacteria. Dysbiosis (a.k.a. an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut) can actually increase the recirculation of toxins which is definitely not what we want!
So we started this conversation around a Liver Cleanse, but the biggest take away should be to LOOK AFTER YOUR GUT HEALTH!
Where To Start With Optimising Your Gut Health
STEP 1: Get your free copy of “The Perfect Digestion Solution” (see sign-up bar above right)
Looking for a delicious chocolate alternative this Easter? Try out this Peppermint Chocolate recipe with just 4 essential ingredients. It’s also Paleo-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and autoimmune paleo-friendly!
1 cup cacao powder or carob powder *For AIP friendly version, choose carob powder