The key to losing weight and keeping it off is to understand the role unresolved emotions from past events play in your health. The biggest reason for emotional eating is our emotional baggage, such as feelings from divorce, or abuse, or our difficult childhood, or our difficult situation at work. Our emotional baggage exerts pressure on us in situations that occur.

Did you know that the number one cause of obesity is something called “emotional eating?” If you use food as a way to deal with stress and anxiety, you are not alone. Here are some steps you can take that will help you to avoid emotional eating:

First of all, it’s important to spend a little bit of time thinking about the things that actually trigger you. Get a piece of paper and a pencil and think about the different life situations you’ve been through. If you’ve been through a divorce, write that down. If you were abused as a child, make a note of that as well. Write down all of the difficult emotional times that you have been through. The triggers to your emotional eating will inevitably have arisen from these emotional events and traumas from your life, even if some of them occurred decades ago. Simply being aware on a more conscious level of the emotional baggage that you are carrying will help you to recognize those triggers.

emotional-eatingAnother great idea is to start keeping what you might call an “eating journal.” In your case, write down not only what you were eating but also what you were thinking and feeling at the time. When you ate that entire bowl of chips or carton of ice cream, what inner voice were you trying to silence? What specific stress were you trying to deal with? Understanding the relationship between your eating and your emotions is a major key to breaking bad habits.

The most revolutionary idea that I would like to share with you is to start listening to your body. Believe it or not, your subconscious mind knows what’s good for you! That computer-brain of yours is far more intelligent than you know. In fact, it is capable of telling you exactly what you should and should not eat if you want to lose weight!

Scientists now realize that the human body is nothing more than a very highly complex energy field. The energy field of our body is sensitive to the energy that is given off by food, drinks, and everything else we come into contact with. It’s now possible to find out exactly what your energy field “thinks” about that tasty morsel you’re about to put into your mouth!

There are a number of very effective ways to tap into the subconscious mind that are actually quite simple and easy to perform. Let me share the simplest and easiest of these ways with. I call this the “Sway Test.”

If you are standing in a relaxed posture, your body will tend to gently sway forward if you are thinking about food that your subconscious mind wants, and will sway backward if you are thinking about foods that it perceives to be harmful!

Here’s how it works:

If there is any music playing in your room, or if the television is on, turn them off, so that you will be able to focus completely on the test. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Drop your hands to your side, and close your eyes. Allow yourself to completely relax.

Try thinking about the word “salad.” Try to imagine the most delicious, healthy salad that you’ve ever eaten.

The moment your inner mind connects with the thought of “salad,” and all the good fiber, vitamins, minerals and nutrients that go along with that salad, you will begin to sway forward, as your subconscious mind realizes just how good for you that salad would actually be. This typically doesn’t take more than five or 10 seconds, and gets easier with practice.

Now, allow yourself to relax again. With your eyes closed, focus your mind on the word “Hot Pocket.” As you think about this ultimate form of junk food, your subconscious mind is somehow aware of the artificial ingredients that are in that product, the humectants, the preservatives, the food colorings and so on, that are going to make you fat. Once again, the moment your subconscious mind makes the connection with what a “Hot Pocket” really is, your body will start to sway backward of its own volition, in an attempt to move you further away from eating something bad for you.

Most people have no difficulty with this test. Remember to relax completely and focus your mind in a powerful way upon the food, whatever food you choose.

Next, it’s important to have a strategy, a plan for how you will respond the next time you are tempted to overeat. My recommendation? Wear a rubber band around your wrist. When you’re feeling triggered, when you feel a case of “emotional eating” coming on, snap that rubber band against your wrist to help you “snap out of” the underlying emotional loop that you are in.

Finally, you can stop being a victim to your emotions. The next time you are feeling a negative emotion such as sadness, anger or frustration, remember that you alone have control over your emotional state.

It’s important to remember that emotions don’t choose you; you chose your emotions, no matter what the situation is. You may think some emotion has chosen you, but the reality is you chose it and you can un-choose it!

Have you ever made a statement like, “My husband makes me so mad…” or “That made me so depressed…” or “That put me in such a bad mood”? Statements like these are very common. If you stop and think about statements like these, you will realize they’re quite ridiculous. The fact is that nobody can make you feel any emotion that you don’t choose to feel.

Things that happen to you do not really determine the emotions that you feel. While you may not have conscious control over all of the events that affect your life, you do have the ability to choose how you think, feel, and act. No matter what happens, you ultimately choose the emotions that you feel.

Many of us unwittingly become victim to our emotions at times. You may not believe that you are in control of how you feel. Negative emotions can emerge so quickly that it may appear as if there is no time to choose a different emotion than the natural reactive emotion that just seems to come out of nowhere. If you are late for an appointment, you may automatically feel anxious. If someone treats you rudely, you might automatically feel miffed. When you are insulted or abused, you may immediately feel resentful or angry in response.

If you are like most people, unacceptable things happen from time to time. Unless you take control of your emotions, you will simply react. When you allow yourself to react, your subconscious mind may offer up a negative emotion for you, based upon the emotions you have chosen in similar circumstances in your past.

While you may have always responded in a certain negative way to a given situation, your past negative responses do not have to be the same as your future responses. You have a choice every time you need to deal with or confront something negative. You can choose to react how you have always reacted or you can choose differently. The past does not have to equal the future.

The reality about emotions is that you always choose them. You always choose how you feel. Always. Becoming aware of this is in itself quite empowering.You are the author of your own emotional experiences. You can choose whatever emotion you want in any situation you are faced with. It takes some practice, and it’s not always easy, but it can be done.

The next time you find yourself filled with a negative emotion, stop and think about the process you went through to arrive at that feeling. It might seem like the emotion chose you, but you really did choose the emotion.

Making a conscious choice instead of allowing old subconscious patterns to run you is choosing to evolve and grow. Using your new knowledge and awareness of trapped emotions will help you to be able to stop and think before letting an automatic response get the best of you.

The next time you are faced with a negative situation, don’t simply react. Think! Ask yourself,“Which will serve me better, a negative emotion or a positive emotion?” My guess is that positivity will usually win. There are all kinds of great ways you can choose to feel.

Here’s a list of positive emotions that you can use the next time you want to choose positively.

Acceptance – Ambitiousness – Anticipation – Awe – Benevolence – Calmness – Charity – Comfort – Contentment – Confidence – Courage – Curiosity – Desire – Delight – Diligence – Elation – Empathy – Excitement – Faith – Forgiveness – Friendship – Generosity – Gladness – Gratitude – Happiness – Honor – Hope – Humility – Interested – Joy – Kindness – Love – Modesty – Passion – Patience – Peace – Satisfaction – Surprise – Willingness