4. Emotionally intelligent ways to say no to food

Eating is an emotional experience, and that's why your skills in emotional intelligence can impact on what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat and how healthy you are.

Do you know what emotions drive you to eat? Or are you one of the few lucky ones who only eat when they're hungry. There aren't many of those kinds of people around.

I know that I will eat to reduce my feelings of distress, stress or tension, and it is these emotions that lead me to eat dark chocolate.

I know others who eat because they feel lonely, bored, overwhelmed, or even anxious. Then, of course, there are other people who eat because eating produces such high levels of satisfaction, contentment, delight and even in some cases of extreme foodies, of feeling ecstatic! These are the people who drool just at the sight of food without even having tasted it

It is important therefore that for many of us we increase our ability to manage our own emotions without having to feed ourselves for comfort. It's all part of being emotionally intelligent. How emotionally intelligent are you when it comes to food?

  • Being emotionally intelligent and saying "no" to food can be essential when you want to control your weight and feel good about yourself.
  • Being emotionally intelligent and saying "no" to certain foods can also make a huge difference to how healthy you are, how you look and how good your skin is.
  • Saying "no" to certain foods can also vastly improve your energy levels.

Why eat food that is bad for you or stacks on weight when you could feel fabulous without it?

Being emotionally intelligent and saying "no" to some foods could make an electrifying difference to your life. Don't risk poor health, weight gain or obesity, learn to say "no".

Saying "no" is not always about saying "no" to other people, it's also about saying "no" to yourself.

There are many strategies you can use to say "no" to food that you don't need. We'll look at five of the easy and important ones.

Five emotionally intelligent ways to say "no" to food you don't need.

Being emotionally intelligent Tip 1: Know why you're eating.

We don't all eat because we are hungry. Sometimes we eat because we feel miserable, lonely, angry or tired. When you go to the fridge or reach out for a piece of cake or pastry, ask yourself, "Why am I eating? Am I really hungry? Am I eating because I am stressed, worn out or miserable?" Being emotionally intelligent and asking the right questions can help you to eat only when you're hungry.

Being emotionally intelligent Tip 2: Manage your emotions instead of eating.

If you're reaching for the chocolate bar because you feel upset, down, empty or unloved, deal with your emotions without eating. Being emotionally intelligent in managing your emotions can help you to say "no" to the chocolate. Eating is the lazy person's way of emotional management. Instead, exercise, do yoga, meditate, write in a journal, stroke the cat, phone a friend, have a good cry or go to bed early.

Being emotionally intelligent Tip 3: Plan what you will do BEFORE you go out or have visitors.

One of the hardest times to control food intake is when you're eating with other people. Decide on an eating strategy BEFORE you go to your friends or family for dinner. Decide in advance what you will say "no" to and then you'll find it much easier to say "no" at the time.

Being emotionally intelligent Tip 4: Say "No, thank you" more than once.

Don't just say, "No thanks" as people offer you some trifle, pavlova or yet another Timtam. Say "No thanks" again when they start insisting and trying to cajole you. Do not weaken just to keep the peace. If they still insist that, "Just one more chocolate won't do you any harm", you simply say, "No thanks" again. Stick to your original answer, don't start giving longer answers. Don't start changing your answer.  Simply keep on saying "No thanks" until they get it. With a smile on your face, of course!

Being emotionally intelligent Tip 5: Have favourite sayings that motivate you.

Keep in mind something that motivates you to eat well. Being emotionally intelligent and saying "no" can become easier as you remind yourself of the benefits that will come your way. I use two sayings to help me. One is, "Every piece of chocolate is a half-an-hour walk". The other is "Love your liver" as it is my liver that has to process my food. Poor thing! When I think of my liver processing fatty chips I eat fewer of them.

Being emotionally intelligent and saying "no" to unnecessary or wrong food, can turn your weight, energy levels and health around. May you reap the benefits and enjoy gaining confidence.

Emotional intelligence skills: How assertive are you?

There are so many proven techniques you can now use to cultivate your emotional intelligence and assertion skills, and the Emotional Intelligence Institute has a number of options to help you.

For example, there are the following top quality CDs, books and DVDs:

  1. Meditation helps people to manage their emotions so that they are relaxed about saying "No" when they need to. Our 2 CD/MP3 set "Happy not hassled" helps people learn how to do this. Click here to get your copy.
  2. Tapping is a technique that can help people ease off tension and stress which you can learn to do yourself; find out how to do this in our book "Enjoy Emotional Freedom".

Keep developing your emotional intelligence and learn to say "no". It's an emotionally intelligent thing to do!

NB: The information contained in this article is not provided as an alternative to obtaining professional or psychological advice from an appropriately qualified practitioner. Please seek any individual help you need for any eating disorder or health problem you may have.