How to Stop Emotional Eating

By on May 8, 2013

how to stop emotional eatingWhen it comes to living a healthy life, one of the things that you have to address early on is emotional eating. According to the Mayo Clinic, how to stop emotional eating is one of the most difficult challenges you will have to face.

If you struggle with emotional eating, it means that you’re turning to food for comfort. What makes it hard is that you often do it without realizing it.

In fact, you may even think that you are just getting food that you need without realizing that you are overindulging.

How To Stop Emotional Eating-What You Need To Know

Development of Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is something that can affect anyone. While women are more inclined to struggle with emotion based eating, it is something that men struggle with as well.

The roots of emotional eating can be based in something that happened long in the past or a stress that crops up throughout the day. In fact, it can show up in even the healthiest of eaters.

The problem though is that it can develop when you start to feel as if you need something to make life better. Food is easy. Often times it provides comfort. Once you start gnoshing on those potato chips or macaroni and cheese or chocolate ice cream, it’s hard to stop.

Journal

One of the most powerful tools in the battle against emotional eating is to make sure that you record what you are eating and the emotions that relate to what you’re eating. It’s not always pleasant.

In fact, it can be quite tedious to write down every bite. But if you take the time to write down the food that you eat and the reason that you are eating, you will start to notice certain patterns. Just make sure that you write down the amounts.

The other benefit that this offers is that if you are turning to food when you aren’t hungry, you have to admit that you are eating for emotional reasons. Make sure that you write down the emotional reasons.

Once you start to realize your patterns, you will be able to better target them. You might notice that after you deal with a stressful situation at work, you might want to settle in with a big box of sugary goodies

Avoid the Sugar

When you realize that you are in the mood for some comfort food, there’s one food that you must avoid: sugar. Sugar based foods will only stimulate further cravings and desires for more.

In fact, the old Pringles adage “bet you can’t just have one” applies to cookies, ice cream, cake, and every other comfort food. And don’t think that you’re off the hook just because you’ve been good and haven’t had sugar.

The difficulty here is that if you haven’t had sugar, your body will respond to it with great vigor. You are going to struggle even more with cravings, and before you know it, you’ll have eaten the entire box of ice cream or bag of chips.

And just in case you’re considering indulging in a supposedly healthy alternative, then stop right there. You shouldn’t be eating certain healthy foods either. (Check this video out for the complete list.)

Instead, turn to healthy lean proteins. Cook yourself something that will provide vitamins and nourishment and savor it. Eat until you are satisfied. After this, go and do something else. Take a walk. Swim.

Call a friend. Complete a craft. These things will help release endorphins. If you can target the reasons for your emotional eating, then do something to resolve them if you can. In the long run, these will do far more to help you.

Put a Mirror on the Fridge

If you’re still struggling with overcoming your emotional eating, then put a mirror on the fridge and in the cupboard. Often times, when people decide to indulge to make themselves feel better, they forget their goals or any desires for living healthfully. They tell themselves that they deserve the indulgence.

The fact is though that you don’t. When you choose to eat healthfully and make good choices, you are making an investment in your future. You deserve that healthy life. Putting a mirror on your fridge or on your cupboard will help to remind you of what you are doing this for. Sugary foods aren’t going to make you feel better.

They’re going to set you back and cause you even more grief. Sometimes a visual reminder can help you to stop from making a bad choice.

However, if one of the things that makes you turn to food is because you feel insecure about your appearance, opt out of the mirror. Instead, put up a calligraphic sign that says, “You deserve to be healthy.”

Put this wherever you can so that you will always be reminded of the importance of making healthy choices.

 

 

References

“Weight Loss: Gain Control of Emotional Eating,” Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss/MH00025 (2012).

“Emotional Eating,” Women’s Health & Fitness, http://www.womenshealthandfitness.com.au/diet-nutrition/healthy-eating/278-emotional-eating (2012).

About JessicaBFry

Jessica B. Fry has had a passion for writing and health since she was a child. In college, she studied Writing and Pre-Law as a double major before she went on to Regent University to obtain her J.D. She now practices law and works as a freelance writer in rural Indiana where she enjoys being with beloved family, friends, and pets. In her spare time, she works on graphology, writes short stories, and practices knife throwing. She and her husband enjoy exploring Indiana and the surrounding states in their free time and hope to one day complete a trip through every single one.
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