Setting Boundaries: 5 Tips for Women to Reclaim Their Lives and Break the Stress Eating Cycle

Chances are that if you’re a gal who is an emotional eater, there is at least one recess or area of your life where you are having trouble with boundaries. Boundaries can be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. They define your limits and enable you to have more self respect, enjoy win win relationships and put you in charge of living a juicy life.

If you notice that you’re often running to the fridge because you’re overcommitted and stressed and can’t say “No,” don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s not your fault. As children, we learn how to set boundaries by what we are taught by our parents and they learned from their parents, and so the endless cycle continues. This is called your programming and it affects you unconsciously by keeping you stuck in old habits. In order to break free from those shackles, you have to recognize what’s not working and take steps to change it.

Here are several tips to chew on before you reach for food when you’re not hungry.

1. Pay attention to your feelings. Your feelings are an indicator that let you know when someone has crossed your boundaries. By respecting and honoring your feelings and acting on them with integrity, you will gain the respect of others and most especially yourself. If you have trouble tuning into your feelings, it may because there is too much static in your life. You may need to find a way to slow down and listen to your inner wisdom.

2. Act as if. Practice mentally saying “No.” Think of someone whom you respect who has no qualms about setting personal boundaries, expressing their thoughts or saying, “No.” Imagine yourself thinking and acting as they would in different challenging situations, looking and feeling totally confident as you reject any requests, demands or tasks that make you automatically feel guilty, uneasy, frustrated or angry.

3. Recharge and Renew You. It’s easy to feel like the walls are closing in on you when you’re stressed. Do something special that makes your heart sing, nurtures your soul and gives you something to look forward to each and every day. By heading off your stress at the pass, you will begin to take the edge off of your emotional eating. Take a yoga class, call a friend, listen to music, cuddle, take a nap, pet your dog or cat, paint, sit in a bubble bath. Spend time having more fun. Close your eyes and ask yourself, “What do I really want”?

4. Seek Support. If you’re struggling with being able to imagine saying or doing things without being afraid of disappointing others, hurting people’s feelings, not being considered nice, then it may be time to gather the support of other women who are also working to set better boundaries. See if you can find a local women’s group or online community that can support you in learning how to say “yes” to yourself and “no” to others.

5. Learn Emotional Freedom Technique. EFT was created by a man named Gary Craig. Based on the science of Acupuncture, EFT is a powerful self help method that works to create an energetic balance in the body by freeing your emotions. It is based on the premise that the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in your body’s energy system. Simply put this means that anytime you feel bad about something, it sources back to an energy blockage. You can release those blocks in minutes and free yourself to enjoy more living. EFT is effective for releasing negative memories, eliminating cravings and overcoming fears and resistance.