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How to turn emotional eating into a form of self-care

From emotional eating to self-care, is that possible? Guest blogger and nutritionist Anita Mulderij thinks so and will help you on your way with this experiment.

Anita: 'What relationship do you have with food? Your relationship with food may be complicated:on the one hand it feels like a piece of comfort, on the other it remains a struggle. It's a vicious circle:you feel bad, you start eating, you feel better for a while… But then that bad feeling comes back. Emotional eating, we almost all know it, but some people suffer from it more than others. But what if you saw emotional eating as an attempt to take care of yourself? And how can you really change the way you eat into a form of self-care?

Patterns and habits

You may now be thinking:how can something so complicated and frustrating be a form of self-care? Remember it is an attempt. So it doesn't work (yet). But it does betray one thing:you recognize the fact that you know patterns and habits when it comes to emotional eating. You can turn these bad habits and unhelpful patterns into positive habits and helping patterns. But how do you do that?

What is?

This doesn't mean you should toss your favorite chocolate bar in the trash right away and go for a bag of carrots instead. That doesn't work, especially not for emotion eaters. Then what? Think for yourself what your favorite junk food is. Do you have something in mind? Then replace it with the highest quality junk food or comfort food you can find.

Quality snacks

Is your favorite snack chocolate? Look for luxury brands or brands that are fair trade. Do you love ice cream? Try to avoid large bins of the cheap house brand and instead go for a small container of the best and tastiest ice cream you can find. Do you prefer savory and do you love pizza? Don't go for cheap frozen variants or dripping greasy takeaway pizza, but for fresh pizza.

Why it works

You can ask yourself:to what extent does this help me as an emotion eater? Because you are very aware of the junk food you buy and eat, you enjoy it much more. After all, it is more luxurious and perhaps also more expensive than when you pull up a bag of the cheapest chips or chocolate bars. When you take something tasty becomes a real treat. Try to eat more slowly and enjoy it consciously.

Fear of relapse

Perhaps you are afraid of falling back into old patterns. Because even though the food is of higher quality and you only choose the tastiest, it remains junk food. How do you make sure this will work for you? You will have to practice. Try this out for a week. Think of one of your favorite snacks and only buy the tastiest, high-quality kind. If you eat it this week, make sure you do it very consciously and that you really enjoy it. The more you see food as a form of self-care, your mindset will slowly change.

What to watch out for?

For example, choose products with natural or organic ingredients. Check whether a product has been produced sustainably and choose good ingredients. At the end of the week it's time for the self-care evaluation:how did it feel to eat these quality products? What has changed for you and do you want to keep experimenting with this?'

More tips for a beautiful and healthy body? Visit for free nutritional tips and delicious healthy recipes.

Text:Anita Mulderij | Courtney Prather