Food is often used for entertainment, distraction, comfort, socialising, identifying and many other things. Anything except for nourishment. In the second part of this series of blogposts I shed light on when and how we unconsciously eat. The first step to a healthy eating pattern is becoming aware of your trigger situations. Simply do the 2 exercises described below and take your eating habits to the next level.

It’s dinner time. The apartment is empty and quiet. I’m alone. I’ve only had one meal at lunchtime and I’m not hungry. I feel lonely. I open the refrigerator and look inside. No junk. Only veggies. I decide to start preparing some food. I open my laptop on the table and go to and turn on some funny videos to listen to while cooking. I sit down and keep watching mindless videos while eating. I end up eating several portions of food and some chocolate (because no meal is finished without chocolate) without actually being hungry. So why was I eating?

In this case I was eating because I didn’t want to be confronted with my feelings of loneliness. I used food as a distraction from what was really going on. I wanted to be surrounded by people, but I ended comforting myself with the process of cooking, sitting down and eating.

This is how we end up overeating and gaining weight. Because we cover up uncomfortable feelings with the act of eating and the sensation of feeling full. What I often notice when I eat when I’m not hungry, is that it’s hard for me to satiate myself. Because I’m not hungry to begin with.

What I came to understand is that I chose to avoid feeling sad, lonely, nervous, impatient or helpless, by eating. I preferred to feel full to an uncomfortable level than staying with myself and my emotions. Because I thought it was too painful to let them surface.

If you want to become a conscious eater, you need to first become aware of how much you eat throughout the day.

Exercise 1

Write down what you eat in a notebook or track it in an app. The act of taking note of the foods you’re consuming will make you eat more consciously. Because who wants to write down that they’ve been dipping a bar of dark chocolate in a jar of peanut butter? Do this for at least 7 days in a row.

After creating awareness around your eating habits, we’ll now shed some light on your trigger situations.

Exercise 2

Read the following situations and remember similar situations from your daily life. Reflect on them and write down the insights. Then, if you catch yourself in these situations, apply the advice below.

In your notebook it’s important to answer following questions for yourself:

Describe the situation

What are you feeling

Why are you feeling this why?

What is it that you are avoiding?

Then take some time and allow any emotions to pass through you. Perhaps it’s nervousness, sadness, anger or disappointment. Please know that these emotions will pass. Don’t identify as a lonely person. You are someone who is experiencing loneliness for instance. It’s when you resist the emotions that they persist.

Situation: You’re cooking and constantly taking small pieces of food and munching on them.

For me this is all about the ‘sneaky eating’. If I just have a little bit, no one notices. It’s the “I don’t want to get caught eating because I know I’m not really hungry but I just want to put something in my mouth- eating.”

Do this: Take 5 deep breaths. Express gratitude for the food and out of respect, refrain from taking in food until all the food is prepared and served.

Situation: You’ve served your food on a plate. You’re listening to music or watching TV. You want to start eating but you’re focussed on anything but your food. You take a second look and already half your plate is gone.

You’re bored and compensating the lack you’re feeling by eating AND consuming other media.

Do this: When you catch yourself in this situation, turn off all music or tv that you were listening to while eating. Silence. Sit with yourself and your food. Take 5 deep breaths. Feel your body. Are you hungry? How are you feeling? What is it that you’re choosing to avoid right now? Write it down in your notebook.

Situation: you’re standing in the pantry with a bag of nuts in your hands and munching on them.

You’re nervous, looking for distractions.

Do this: Breathe. Before taking another bite, breathe. Feel. Why are you eating? Take your notebook and write down what you’re feeling.

Situation: you’ve just had a large meal and you’re full. But you’re craving something sweet, something to really hit the spot and satisfy you.

You’re missing sweetness in your life and trying to fill that void with food.

Do this: Wait at least 10 minutes before getting something extra. In the meantime. Breath. Stay at the table. Don’t get up. Take your notebook. Write down why you want to eat something more despite being full.

Call to action

If you enjoyed this article, please share on social media as I want to reach as many people as possible. So many people struggle with food addictions and I hope my story helps.

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In this seven part blog series I’ll reveal:

  1. How to eat consciously, intuitively and mindfully
  2. How to stop binging
  3. How to achieve sustainable weight loss
  4. How to switch to a healthy plant-based diet
  5. How to fast in a healthy and effortless way
  6. How to deal with the emotions that come up when switching to a conscious diet
  7. What to do after a binge eating episode

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From binging to indulging

From overeating to nourishment

From yoyo dieting to reaching your natural weight

From gobbling food to eating slowly and savouring every bite

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