Updated: Dec 18, 2019
Did you know emotional eating can be one of the biggest elements of weight gain? Eating out of stress or boredom instead of hunger has become very common in American culture. If we’re bored, tired, mad, and sad or elated we celebrate with food.
Sometimes these celebrations cause us to eat even when we are not hungry. If you find yourself eating for comfort instead of hunger here are 5 steps you can take to avoid emotional eating.
Let’s start with - It’s OK To Be Uncomfortable!
One of the reasons that people eat when they’re emotional is because they are uncomfortable. Uncomfortable emotions like anxiety, fear, anger, and boredom often lead people to eat when they are not actually hungry. Psychology Today recommends that you spend a few minutes getting comfortable being uncomfortable before you give into emotional eating cravings.
Negative emotional states are part of life. One thing that you can count on is the ups and downs of life. Learning how to sit with an uncomfortable and uneasy emotion, and be ok with it is a key to overcoming emotional stress and eating. For additional help with emotions check out www.liyhelp.com or visit us on FB https://www.facebook.com/groups/397960634178634/
Here’s a Good One - The Broccoli Test
One of the hardest things for people who emotionally eat is to learn whether or not they are eating because they are hungry or because they are emotional. The cues to the body are almost identical in people who have spent long periods of time eating to cope with negative emotions.
One of the easiest ways to teach yourself the difference between hunger and emotional stress is the broccoli test. My Body Tutor tells us that if we take the time to ask whether or not we would eat broccoli it can be fairly easy to determine whether or not we are actually hungry.
Most emotional food cravings would quickly rule out this high fiber veggie. If you can’t stomach the thought of vegetables, then you’re probably not actually hungry.
Get Busy And Stay Busy
One of the strongest eating responses comes when boredom strikes. People find themselves reaching for food for any number of mind-numbing reasons. The office treat drawer becomes a way to cope with tedium instead of a way to stave off hunger.
Web M.D. suggests that when you know you’re triggered to eat emotionally you get busy doing any type of activity but eating. If you’re at work get up and stretch, take 5 and walk around the office. At home, play a board game, make a craft, and play with your kids. Any activity to get you out of your current emotional state should help you avoid the craving.
Keep A Food Diary
When emotional eating is a problem, maintaining a food diary isn’t just about logging the foods you eat. It’s about keeping a record of how you felt and what was going on at the time you were eating. If the only time you get the extra-large milkshake is after a stressful day at work and when traffic is bad, you may be able to plan around these stress triggers.
The Mayo Clinic points out that if you learn your weaknesses when it comes to food and know what sets you off, you can begin to learn what will keep you on track as well.
The final step in coping with emotional eating is to build resilience. ACE Fitness notes that if you build emotional toughness, it will help you not only with emotional eating but also with other areas of your life. Some things ACE suggests are to stop dramatizing, get perspective, and recharge. All of these can be great tools when it comes to building up your ability to bounce back from setbacks.
If you cannot figure out how to cope with your emotional stress, there are certified mental health professionals who can assist you with a cognitive behavioral therapy program. Psychology Today shows that these programs have been widely successful.
Now you have 5 great ways to cope with your emotional eating. What works best for you? Do you have a trick up your sleeve that we missed?
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