How often do you find yourself opening the fridge and mindlessly reaching for those olives or a block of cheese? And before you know it… gone, finished. The entire block of cheese including the packet of crackers to go with the cheese, and Every. Last. Olive.

You didn’t even taste a mouthful, but have the empty wrappers as evidence. Is eating your primary coping mechanism to deal with those uncomfortable emotions or problems that are difficult to address? Feeling emotionally empty and unfulfilled, can never be eased by filling yourself up with food.

Food is a very short term Bandaid for a long-term deep-seated problem that needs to be felt, understood, and processed. Until this is done, you will always be on that rollercoaster repeating the same cycle. Reaching for food when you feel a feeling that is uncomfortable, getting short term relief, followed by that remorse and self-loathing for your over eating which will lead to that same pattern being initiated again.

So, in truth, you are not dealing with your problem or feeling that feeling. Uou are merely trying to numb out, sweep it under the carpet and hope it will go away. Food is merely a temporary comfort and way of managing a stressor or feeling, but ultimately the work is in searching for the root cause.

The ideal strategy around learning to manage our relationship with food is about awareness and being mindful. It is about checking in, not checking out. It is about becoming embodied, turning within and not looking to numb out, shut down and turn away from what messages our bodies are trying to convey.

The next time you find yourself at the fridge or pantry, take a second. Pause. Take a long slow deep breath in and a longer slower breath out. Ask yourself, what would I really feel if I didn’t eat this…? What can I do now to help me feel [insert positive feeling], instead of this [insert negative feeling]? Notice how you can shift your mindset by changing your thinking.