What's your worst moment while eating

In 5 steps to freedom from emotional eating: The P.A.U.S.E. formula

“You can't just throw a habit out of the window; you have to lure them down the stairs step by step. "
- Mark Twain

At the end of this article you will know the exact way to freedom.

Freedom from frustration eating, from stress eating, in short: freedom from emotional eating.

The 50+ answers to my three questions in Part 1 about emotional eating blew me away:

  1. In which situations do you tend to eat emotionally?
  2. What real need are you trying to satisfy through eating?
  3. If you have found a solution, what is it?

The huge response from the community shows that emotional eating is a topic that not only concerns a lot of people. It also shows how many of us are ready to make a change.

If there were more than 10 answers, I promised you a continuation. And there is now!

With this, you are literally able to reconnect your nervous system so that negative patterns occur less frequently and positive new eating habits occur as if on autopilot.

The break. Formula: How to End Emotional Eating in 5 Steps

Just as muscle building follows a structure that you ideally find in your training plan, there is also a system according to which you can change your habits. Both systems are simple if you know them.

But just as muscles don't grow overnight, you don't change habits overnight.

You can be prepared for this: Training, falling, Stay tuned,Training, falling and …Stay tuned.

The process has 5 simple steps - the P.A.U.S.E. Formula.

That means in plain language:

  1. Make your eating habits PRESENT.
  2. WATCH OUT for the triggers that set off emotional eating.
  3. INTERRUPT negative behaviors as soon as they occur.
  4. SUBSTITUTE the old emotional eating behavior with a constructive alternative.
  5. ESTABLISH new, constructive invisible scripts about food and eating.

Let's go through the 5 steps one at a time.

Step 1: Make your eating habits PRESENT

Why is PRESENCE important?

The biggest hurdle is that you are initially not even aware of your eating habits. In other words, you eat without thinking about it.

Of course you have free will and can make conscious decisions - but 95% of your daily behavior is on autopilot. These are yours Habits.

If you are not aware of your unconscious behavior, you have no chance of changing it. You can only change the things that are on your radar screen.

What are behavior patterns and how do they arise?

You don't have to worry about your heart beating, when which hormones are released or your digestion gets going - these processes are controlled by your autonomous nervous system. If your subconscious is able to control these complex processes, you can certainly imagine that it controls your eating behavior without coordinating with your conscious mind.

For example, if frustration eating has become a subconscious behavior, you no longer have to think about what you are doing every time you are frustrated. Instead, your brain has installed "program code" that says something like: "If you feel frustrated, eat soul food, e.g. chocolate."

You can look for many explanations for the habit of eating. Food can be linked to many things, e.g. home, family, love, security and almost every person, place and experience. Perhaps you have been using the respective programming since you were a child, but perhaps you have only recently been using it.

How do you know your eating habits?

When I work with new clients in coaching, they first answer a few points on my anamnesis questionnaire. Among them are two questions that I look particularly carefully at:

  1. Which foods do you prefer to eat?
  2. Why do you like to eat these foods?

Often the answer is first of all fog in bags: "I like it." If I then ask further questions, we usually discover concrete memories that are linked to the food. “When I eat ice cream, I think of my childhood. After a summer day on the beach there was always an ice cream with hot cherries. Those were always wonderful days. "

In these cases, ice cream is associated with good feelings from childhood: family, summer, fun and ease. The ice brings these feelings back again.

Because eating habits can have a long history and take place unconsciously, they continue to run on autopilot until you make them present to yourself and replace them with new habits. This is where the PRESENCE comes into play. You can change your habits be aware.

Some people call this consciously eat and mean the opposite of impulsive or unconscious eating.

So you immediately create more presence while eating

There are two things you want to look out for in order to be present while eating:

  • When you eat, you eat. There are studies that show the following connection: the more time people spend in front of the television, the thicker they are. TV doesn't make you fat, as we know. Eating while watching TV without consciously noticing what you are eating ... yes. And there is another aspect: Those who regularly eat in front of the television associate “television” with “food” - and get an appetite when they switch on the television.
  • Take your time to eat. This was an issue for me for a long time because during my officer training at the federal government I got used to eating very quickly. The effect of overeating too quickly has now been pretty well documented: your brain needs some time to register how much energy you have already consumed. If you are moving too fast and at some point you feel “full”, you have already eaten too much.

There is another way you can become aware of your eating habits: keep a food diary in which you record every food. There are excellent smartphone apps like CaloryGuard Pro or MyFitnessPal, with which tracking is child's play and can be really fun.

In fitness mentoring, my customers track daily for the first 90 days. There are few such simple measures that create so much awareness and support you in forming new habits. If you have already reached your body fat goal and a “new comfort zone”, tracking is optional. But it always gives you security when you want to change something in your diet in order to achieve a certain goal.

Step 2: LOOK OUT for the triggers that set off emotional eating

Emotional eating doesn't happen “just like that”, by accident. There's always a reason for it.

Why does Mindfulness help you?

We all have certain triggers or emotional “buttons” that work like triggers. The more of them you can identify, the better.

You can imagine your consciousness as a police patrol. If you know in which regions most of the “crimes” happen, you should pay particular attention there so that you can get to the scene faster. The better you know your way around, the sooner you can “arrest” negative eating behavior.

Now you get some help for your investigative work.

What are common triggers (and how do you find yours)?

Emotional triggers typically fall into one of four categories:

  1. Feelings
  2. places
  3. People
  4. Events

Where are your switches for emotional eating behavior?

In the following list you will find the most common triggers. Go through the list and write down those that are important to you. Then add other triggers that are not in the list. You will find that you have some triggers under control and some not.

  • stress
  • lonliness
  • boredom
  • Anger
  • frustration
  • Sadness
  • feel ignored
  • not feeling loved
  • feel worthless
  • Work overload
  • Overwhelming
  • fatigue
  • Overtraining
  • Money worries
  • relationship problems
  • Parties
  • vacation
  • Weather
  • Buffets
  • Restaurants
  • Eating in the kitchen
  • Eating in the office
  • the refrigerator
  • Smell of food
  • Sight of food
  • People who offer you food
  • People who eat near you
  • certain time in the day
  • specific time in the month
  • watch TV
  • go to the cinema
  • Your mother is cooking
  • Your partner is cooking

Did you identify and write down your triggers?

Next, remove the ones from your list that you have well under control. What remains are your “construction sites” - those situations in which you are allowed to be particularly CAREFUL.

How to eliminate some triggers instantly

There are a few common triggers that you can eliminate right away. You can (and should) tackle the following ad hoc measures immediately.

1. You cannot eat what is not there.

For most people, these are snacks and sweets in their home or office. “Opportunity makes thieves” and opportunity leads people to snack.

So do a spring cleaning in your apartment and at your workplace and remove all food that does not bring you closer to your goal. If it's not there, you can't eat it. Banish these foods completely from your home and office. If that is not possible, at least get them out of sight and reach.

2. How to bypass social triggers.

If you let people trigger you, you can think about how you will deal with certain situations in advance.

It's a good idea to bring your close friends and family on board. Tell them what you are up to and ask them to support you “no ifs or buts”.

There are times when you may feel peer pressure or be encouraged by others to overeat. You can do that in advance Develop strategies: Make a note of all common situations that have presented emotional triggers for you and plan exactly which invisible scripts you want to follow in the future.

Ask yourself the following questions for each situation:

  • How can I look at this situation from a different perspective?
  • What new meaning could I give it?
  • What hidden advantage could this situation have?
  • What can I learn from it?

Here are some more ideas:

  • “It could be that it tastes good. But nothing tastes as good as looking good in the nude feels. "
  • “It's not about giving up sweets. It's about giving up a slim body. "
  • “It's not about the fact that I can no longer freely decide what to eat. The point is that I no longer make myself a slave to certain foods. "
  • “It's not about family dining. It's about spending time with the family. "
Case study # 1: eat up

The topic of eating up and wasting food from the last article is a good case study of the new meaning you give to an emotional trigger.

Case Study # 2: Stress Eating

Stress is one of the most common triggers for emotional eating. One of the easiest ways to deal with stress is to give it a new meaning. In principle, stress is not a bad thing for us. How you interpret stress and deal with it plays a major role.

What if stress immediately had a completely new meaning for you?

  • “Stress is part of my life. If I don't strain myself, I can't grow. "
  • “Stress is okay. Stress only becomes a problem for me if it is permanent and I cannot compensate for it. When I notice that I am constantly under stress, it is a sign for me that I can rest, relax and regenerate. I work hard and it can get stressful at times, but then I take care of balance and relaxation.
  • Actually, it's not the food that I really need when I feel stressed, but rather rest and relaxation. The fact that I feel stressed simply means that I can provide more balance between tension and relaxation.
  • Why should I use foods when I feel stressed out? Eating gives me energy and nutrients, but it's a bad stress reliever because afterward I'll just feel guilty. And a guilty conscience means ... more stress.

You can find out what else can help quickly against stress in this article.

Step 3: DISCONNECT negative behaviors as soon as they occur

What role does the interruption play?

As you train your mindfulness, you develop more and more from an unconscious to a conscious eater. This gives you more and more opportunities to interrupt negative behavior patterns in good time.

I like the idea that you are literally doing the negative programs at them interrupts and “check in”. This assumes that you are aware of your thoughts, feelings and your surroundings, monitor them and intervene in good time.

The central moment occurs when you notice the impulse that you would have given in earlier and eaten counterproductively. It is the moment when you make a decision. You make the decision to do it differently this time.

This is how you interrupt the old eating habits

Interrupt the old program by simply "Stop!" say. Or wait!" or "Stop!"

Then you can indulge in the “creative procrastination”. If you are like me, then there are areas of life in which you do unimportant things from time to time, just to avoid having to tackle the “big boards”. This ability comes into play now.

Make yourself aware: "I can just as easily eat this a little later, right now I imagine exactly how I would feel afterwards and what consequence it would have for my goal."

The most important thing is the INTERRUPTION, the stop sign in front of your inner eye, the conscious thinking before you eat.

How to use the break to overcome emotional eating

This gives you the opportunity to ask yourself some important questions:

  • "Do I think about food because I am physically hungry or for some other reason?"
  • "If it's not physical hunger, why am I thinking about food?"
  • "What immediate consequences would it have if I ate this now?"
  • "What long-term consequences would it have if I ate this now?"
  • "What is the advantage for me if I do without it now?"
  • "Will I get closer to my goal if I eat now, or would I move away from it?"
  • "Is it really worth eating now?"

These questions will help you to include the consequences of your actions in your decision and give you the focus on what is really important to you.

In moments like this, the thought “I am what I eat” helps me. Everything that your body is made of was in some way consumed through food.

"Do you really want this unhealthy food to become part of your body cells, your muscles, your brain, your lungs and maybe even your eyeball?"

Then I check: "How do you feel after this You ate that? "

Many people under the illusion that eating certain foods will make them feel better. The truth is, if you've just tried to satisfy emotional hunger, you will feel worse.

You just feel better when you eat for the right motives - and find other ways to deal with your feelings ...

Step 4: SUBSTITUTE the old emotional eating behavior with a constructive alternative

Why there is always an alternative

There are always constructive ways to meet your emotional needs.

It's not about the food. It's about the feeling that you would have thought food could give you.

What are you up to really Appetite? Community? Love? Luck?

If there are other ways than eating to feel this - why don't you go?

If you notice the situations in which eating only gives you a short-term “high” followed by persistent pain - would you still go for it?

People who have successfully changed their emotional eating behavior have two things in common:

  1. They have understood that emotional eating does not satisfy their need and - on the contrary - it makes them feel worse.
  2. They find more constructive alternatives to eating to meet their real needs.

How you develop alternative behaviors (e.g. against frustration eating)

As individual as our needs are, so are the respective alternatives. You will find it if you accept the fact that there is not one but several alternatives for you and you are willing to experiment.

Here are some ideas:

  • Grief: There are people who, when they are sad, have their stomachs full. Or use alcohol. Others seek professional support, call their best friends or find an open ear by talking to their family. Interacting with other people you trust can work wonders.
  • Frustration eating: Some people eat when they are stressed or frustrated. Others find ways to relax: They meditate, do yoga, breathing exercises, have sex or light candles. They listen to music that relaxes them, take a hot bath, spend time in nature or go for a walk. Some people simply disengage themselves from the stressor for a period of time and take some time off when possible.
  • Fatigue: Some people come home exhausted and grab something to eat right away. Others first go to sleep for 10 minutes (“power nap”) and do something to help them sleep even better at night.
  • Anger: Some people reach for food when they are upset about something. Other people "react off", they go to the gym, run, abuse their punching bags or do push-ups until the anger is gone.

If you are tempted to eat something for emotional reasons, it can help a lot if you just distract yourself with something else. For example, by going for a walk.

In my experience, physical things, light exercise, or exercise often work particularly well. Mind and body are connected. Emotion follows movement. When you move, the feeling changes.

Try it! The worst that can happen is that nothing happens.

Step 5: ESTABLISH new, constructive invisible scripts about food and eating

Your invisible scripts about food and your attitude towards food are often completely overlooked. They are one of the most effective keys to overcoming emotional eating (or other counterproductive eating behaviors).

Change your invisible scripts and it will be easy for you to change your eating behavior sustainably.

Why is a certain eating behavior completely problem-free for some people, while it is downright inconceivable for others? It is not because of some people's superhuman willpower that makes them resistant to temptation.

Ask a staunch vegetarian how easy it is for him to go without meat.

The thing is, if some behavior contradicts your invisible scripts, then there is no temptation!

Most people are completely unaware of their beliefs about food. They don't notice how their invisible scripts control their decisions and behaviors. You can learn a lot about a person's invisible scripts if you take a look at the Results throws that this person scores.

“You should recognize them by their fruits,” people already knew 2000 years ago

The topic of “invisible scripts and food” is a chapter in itself - and the topic for a third part of this series of articles.

To be continued: The invisible scripts of naked handsome people

Next week you will find out ...

  • ... how strongly invisible scripts about food can influence your eating behavior.
  • ... how to identify and replace your invisible scripts about eating.
  • ... which invisible scripts follow healthy, fit and slim people.
  • ... why willpower is no longer your topic as soon as you use the right scripts.


In Part 1 In this series of articles, you learned what emotional eating is and how to differentiate between emotional and physical hunger. The many courageous comments on the first part are particularly worth reading and were the reason why there was a sequel. Thanks to everyone who stayed tuned for sharing their experiences!

In this Part 2 you got to know the P.A.U.S.E.-formula, a simple 5-step process with which you can change your eating habits:

In part 3 let's deepen the “E” of the P.A.U.S.E.-formula - your new invisible fitness scripts.

Be patient with yourself. Remember the 21-day rule, because that's how long it takes on average to replace an (!) Old habit with a new one. This assumes that you train the new behavior regularly.

Support task - How to increase your success rate dramatically

“We are what we do repeatedly. Excellence is therefore not an act, but a habit. "
- Aristotle

As simple as the 5-step process may seem, you will only be successful if you first start and second, stick with it. In the first step you want to become aware of your unconscious eating habits (step 1 - “PRESENCE”).

There are many people who do the things they want but DO nothing for them. Those who stay at it leave their comfort zone and take a baby step towards their goal every day.

If you are a stickler and want to achieve RESULTS, start now and take the first step: Carry out the process on an example behavior and answer the following questions:

  • What is the old behavior pattern that you want to change, in which situations did you eat emotionally in the past?
  • What are possible triggers for this behavior? Use the list under “Step 2” for help.
  • What new behavior do you want to replace your old pattern with?

Write your answers in the comment field.

This ensures two things:

  1. Who writes stays. What you write down here as a comment, you make yourself present - and awareness is the first step towards change.
  2. We hold you responsible. People who accept responsibility are more likely to stick with it and achieve their goals more often. You use this effect for yourself by “outing” yourself here.

I am looking forward to your comment and I wish you a lot of fun and success with the change.

Sporty greetings,

  1. This quote is from the Bible, New Testament: Matthew, 7.16 [↩]

Category: Losing weight, Fitness with M.A.R.K. Tags: sticking to it, emotional eating, stopping cravings, psychology, bastard, invisible scripts