Tips to Help you Avoid Emotional EatingAugust 28, 2019 11:19 am Comments Off on Tips to Help you Avoid Emotional Eating
Have you ever had a terrible day and the only thing that made you feel better was digging into a tub of ice cream, chocolate, wine or potato chips? For some reason when we are emotional, food has a way of soothing those feelings. Most people will emotionally eat on the odd occasion so if you’ve ever eaten emotionally, you’re not alone.
We need food to survive. Food fuels us with our daily calories and nutrients. But food has other purposes, such as celebrating events with family and friends or consuming the correct food to fuel sporting activities. Food is often used as a reward, such as when a child behaves or eats their dinner, they may get a treat for dessert or as an adult, we may go out to eat or get a cake at special occasions. Food is used by some to cope when times get tough or emotions run high. The food of choice during these times isn’t normally salads or steamed vegetables, rather it’s sugary, high fat foods such as chips, cake, ice cream, chocolate or even alcohol. While emotional eating may make you feel better at the time, it doesn’t resolve the problem and done too often, can really impact weight and health.
If you’re an emotional eater, don’t despair, here’s some tips to help you build a plan of attack so that emotional eating is a thing of the past.
Eat small, regular meals during the day. Do you tend to skip meals during the day? The problem with this is that while some can do this and still eat healthy later, most people get hungry or start craving sugary or fatty snacks and others eat bigger portion sizes or whatever they can find in the fridge when they finally do eat. Try and have a regular eating routine including your 3 main meals and 1 to 2 healthy low-calorie snacks during the day.
Address the problem. If emotional eating is a regular occurrence in your life and there is a problem that brings this on, then sometimes steps need to be taken to address the problem; whether it is speaking to the person/people involved, finding new work, taking up an opportunity that you’ve wanted but been afraid to etc.
Write a triggers and solution list. Write down a list of things that leads to the emotional eating and a few alternate ways of how you will deal with the feelings when they come. If you don’t succeed at first, don’t give up, keep working on this as it takes time and serious effort to form new habits.
Alternate coping strategies: Find a non-food related activity you enjoy that you can do when those feelings strike e.g. go to the movies, phone a friend or play a board game.
Change of scenery. Get out of the house or away from the environment that leads to or feeds the emotional eating.
Get some exercise. While it may not seem like the most appealing option at the time, exercise makes you feel good as it releases chemicals in the brain improving mood.
Get a good night’s sleep A lack of sleep reeks havoc with your appetite-regulating hormones and can result in a greater tendency to emotional eat. A lack of sleep often makes you feel hungrier and crave carbohydrates and high fat foods.