Moving Beyond Our Unconscious Food Habits

How can we move beyond our eating patterns that have become “ritual-habitual” or “unconscious food habits” in response to stress and anxiety? 

We all experience emotional states of stress or anxiety. It’s important to understand that in these states, our brain doesn’t function in the same way as it does when we are calm. This affects our decision-making which may result in overeating, feeling shame, and trying to regulate food.

On a physical level, when we get angry, our energy levels plummet. We feel tired and worn down from the anger. Our emotional and physical discomfort has us wanting food for comfort. Yet are we truly hungry?

A useful tool for some people is to remember the acronym, H.A.L.T. Take a moment and remind yourself. Do I feel Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired?  Pause, and take mental note which of these factors are present. You can do a self-inventory or check before you make a choice to eat when you are not hungry.     At Nova Wellness Counseling in Shoreline, together we explore ways to transform self-blame and judgment into self-compassion and self-discovery. It starts by learning to prioritize the most important area of your life: taking care of yourself.

Our internal environment doesn’t always support us. In counseling, you will receive the support you need to be inspired and motivated to make positive changes. This means to build upon the strengths you already have. My focus is finding the positive attributes within each of us, rather than labeling and condemning a list of “problems” that need to be “fixed”. 

My work is inspired by approaches that support your potential and that empower you. Our relationship with food affects our ability to have more physical energy, and nurture our body, mind and spirit. We don’t need to be “fixed”—we need to flourish to become flexible and willing to be and act in accordance with our chosen values.     

Alice Anne Millington, M.A. Psych.

Office: (206) 733-0349