Emotion sometimes turns into food when you feel down and stressed. Emotional eating is seeing food as a stress reliever or reward instead of nourishment. If you feel that you are an emotional eater, you can follow these practical ideas to ward off negative emotions and stave off your cravings:
- Make a Food Diary – Keep regular tabs on what, how much, and when you ate as well what you felt when you ate and how hungry you were. By doing this, you might be able to identify patterns that could reveal a link between eating and your mood.
- Check Your Hunger – Is the hunger you’re feeling merely emotional or physical? If you just ate an hour ago and your stomach doesn’t really feel hungry, you’re probably not so give some time for your craving to pass.
- Manage your Stress – Consider doing yoga, deep breathing, meditation, tai chi and other similar exercises to curb your stress levels.
- Resist Boredom – Rather than snacking your way through boredom, do something—anything—to distract yourself from emotional hunger.
- Do Not Stock Your Pantry with Temptation – Never stock irresistible comfort foods at home and never go to the grocery shop when you’re feeling negative, sad or angry.
- Always Choose Something Healthy – If you must eat in between meals, go for low-calorie and low-fat snacks like vegetables, fruit, and yogurt.
- Never Deprive Yourself – Yes, you’re trying to lose weight and eat healthy, but this does not mean that you should eat the exact same foods every day and don’t indulge in your favorite comfort foods. Enjoy treats occasionally, but never when you’re feeling emotional, adds a therapist from a prominent eating disorders treatment center.
- Learn from Your Mistakes – In case you succumbed to an emotional eating episode, forgive yourself but don’t forget. Focus instead on all the positive things you’ve been doing and congratulate yourself for consistently trying. Learn from it so you can take the necessary steps to avoid it from occurring again.
- Get Ample Support – Having a great support network of family, friends, or a support group will help you stay on track.
In case you’ve tried these self-help tips, but still succumb to regularly to emotional eating episodes, it may be time to get professional help. Therapy and other related techniques could also aid in helping you understand your emotional eating issues and give you the proper tools to cope with them.