The next time you feel the urge to eat, notice if you’re physically hungry or if a feeling or need is driving the desire for food.  If it’s a feeling, take 90 seconds and practice the Rosenberg Reset:

The Rosenberg Reset:  1 choice  +  8 unpleasant feelings  +  90 seconds

In her wonderful TEDx talk, Dr. Joan Rosenberg says, “our happiness in life comes from our moment to moment choices”, not from the big ones we make in life. Freedom, including freedom from emotional eating, comes from paying attention to feelings:

“Make the Choice to STAY PRESENT, FULLY PRESENT — this is about Awareness, not Avoidance!  It’s your choice, you can do this, we can all do this.” 

The Eight Unpleasant Feelings:

  • sadness
  • shame
  • helplessness
  • anger
  • vulnerability
  • embarrassment
  • disappointment
  • frustration

Of course, there are more feelings—one expert has said there are 34,000, both pleasant and unpleasant—but these 8 are the ones that most often derail us, take us off track, and out of ourselves.  And, for those of us who habitually eat out of emotion, they can be particularly triggering.

Dr. Rosenberg says the first step is to shift our thinking: they’re not bad or negative, but simply unpleasant and uncomfortable.

“Why are they so important?  This matters because our feeling of emotional strength, of being capable in the world is directly tied to our ability to move through those eight unpleasant feelings.”

Brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor reported her experience in the wonderful book “My Stroke of Insight”: when much of her brain was shut down after a massive stroke, she could sense feelings flowing through her body but could not attach words or stories to them. Because she couldn’t “feed them”, they lasted only about 90 seconds. 

According to Dr. Rosenberg, neuroscientists back this up:  When we feel an emotion, chemicals rush through our bloodstream and then flush out in 60-90 seconds. She says the key is to recognize that it’s not the thought behind the emotion that bothers us so much, it’s the physical feeling associated with it:

“WHAT WE FEEL EMOTIONALLY is experienced in the body first as a bodily or physical sensation.  THAT’S WHAT WE TRY TO AVOID—the bodily sensation, not the emotion itself.”  This is one reason food is so appealing in these moments–eating is physical, and the relief it gives us, however temporary, is physical too.

Instead of avoiding unpleasant feelings, Dr. Rosenberg suggests we can reclaim our power by moving toward those emotions and embracing them. 

Her solution? RIDING THE WAVE.

“You can handle 60-90 seconds!  They come up, they linger, they subside…they always subside. And every time you think of it, it fires off again.  …Grief is waves of waves… and they will always subside.”

If we can stay present, if we can surf the 90-second waves and let them ride out their course, we’ll find new freedoms, including the freedom to not eat—not because we shouldn’t, but because we no longer need to.

REMEMBER: Healing occurs whenever we can stay present in the face of difficult feelings!

“Embrace them, they are the path back to you being more fully you. Stay present, experience them, surf those waves. It takes just a moment.”

Interested in getting a grip on emotional eating once-and-for-all? Watch my 3-video series to get started! >>CLICK TO WATCH NOW