How to Stop Emotional Eating
Experts believe that up to 75 percent of overeating may be due to reasons other than physical hunger. If you want to improve your relationship with food, learn to identify and control emotional eating.
How to Break Free From Emotional Eating
Below are some ways/ tips/ steps for finally breaking free from emotional eating:
Recognize the Signs and Symptoms:
Emotional eating occurs when you use food to manage your feelings rather than to satisfy your hunger. This can trigger guilt and create a cycle where you eat because you feel badly and feel badly because you eat. Too much positive feelings can also play a role if you associate food with celebrating.
2. Keep a balanced perspective.
It’s okay to take pleasure in foods you shouldn’t normally eat, such as a birthday cake, and enjoy sharing it with others. Concerns arise only when emotional eating interferes with your health and wellbeing.
3. Ask yourself if you feel out of control.
You may have lost control of your eating habits if you want to make healthier choices but keep backsliding. Be honest with yourself if you are indeed already out of control with your eating.
4. Notice your cravings.
A strong desire for specific dishes is a common symptom of emotional eating as well as hormone imbalance. If you’re actually hungry, everything on the menu is likely to sound appealing. When you’re depressed over a recent breakup, ice cream may be the only thing you want to order.
- When a person’s adrenals are fatigued, they often crave salty foods.
- When one craves sweets, it can often be a sign of potassium deficiency and cortisol imbalance.
- Be sure to have your hormones checked if you are having intense cravings.
5. Evaluate your hunger levels.
Another danger sign is eating when you already feel full. Slow down and decide if you really need another helping of mashed potatoes.
6. Consider your family history.
The way you eat may be grounded in patterns that started in childhood. Maybe you were rewarded with a homemade cake when you got good grades.
Develop a Healthier Relationship With Food:
1. Keep a journal.
It’s easier to spot patterns when you write down when and why you eat. You may notice that you often snack on potato chips when you’re bored, even though you’ve just eaten a full meal.
2. Substitute healthy foods.
Cravings can be used to benefit you if you reach for nutritious and less fattening alternatives.
3. Control portion sizes.
For some, eliminating all your favorite treats can cause a backlash from deprivation. See if a sliver of pie makes you just as happy as a big slice and savor every bite.
- Note: Many people can’t handle having just a little. For these people, a little inevitably turns into a lot. If you fall into this category, eliminate sweets and fattening foods entirely.
4. Seek distractions.
Engage in productive activities that will take your mind off your stomach. Go for a walk, read a book, or do some housework.
5. Develop positive coping techniques.
Comfort foods deliver only short-term relief. Find more effective methods for managing daily stress, such as meditation, music or physical exercise.
- A great resource is in the book, Unleash the Power of the Female Brain: Supercharging Yours for Better Health, Energy, Mood, Focus, and Sex. The author discusses a simple coping technique of merely asking yourself two words, “Then what?” – before you are about to make a poor choice in foods. This simply question and your answer can often be enough to change your decision.
6. Avoid temptation.
If you find your favorite cookies to be too irresistible, banish them from your pantry. Don’t go to the restaurant that serves your favorite fried chicken if you simply can’t resist. Out of sight, out of mind.
7. Get adequate sleep.
Being chronically tired makes you more vulnerable to overeating. Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Take a warm bath before bed to raise your body temperature if you have trouble falling asleep.
8. Reward your good behavior.
Reinforce the positive changes you make in your proper eating behavior. Set realistic goals and praise yourself when you attain them. Buy yourself something special or visit your favorite museum.
9. Seek professional help.
If you need more help to change the way you eat, talk with an expert. Counseling may clarify the underlying issues you need to address. Nutritionists can advise you on a diet that will work with your individual lifestyle.
- Overeaters Anonymous can be a great resource too.
10. Eat enough fat.
Our bodies need fat. It is essential to life. Contrary to popular teachings, fat does not make you fat. In fact, eating low fat can cause you to feel less satiated and can also increase cravings. Be sure you are eating an adequate amount of healthy fat each day.
Liberate yourself from emotional eating so you can protect your health and enjoy your food more. These methods will help put you back in control.