You’ve probably been there before: you’re feeling down, so you eat something to make yourself feel better.
But what if there were other ways to cope with your emotions? It’s not effortless to avoid emotional eating, but with a few manageable tips, you can at least make it a little bit easier.
Why do we emotional-eat
You might emotional-eat because you’re feeling sad, bored, angry, or stressed.
Or maybe you’re just looking for a way to comfort yourself. Emotional eating has nothing to do with hunger and is often done in response to negative emotions.
The dangers of emotional eating
When you’re in the grips of negative emotions, it can be tough to resist the temptation to eat junk food.
The problem with emotional eating is that it’s a vicious cycle. You eat to make yourself feel better, but then the food makes you feel even worse. And before you know it, you’ve eaten bags of chips or tubs of ice cream.
Easy tips to avoid emotional eating
Emotional eating is something that a lot of us struggle with. We turn to food not because we’re hungry, but because we’re trying to comfort ourselves or avoid our feelings.
If you’re looking for a way to curb your emotional eating, try these simple tips:
- Keep a food journal. This will help you track what you’re eating and identify any patterns in your behavior.
- Make sure you’re eating regular meals and snacks. When you’re famished, it’s easy to reach for unhealthy foods.
- Avoid eating late at night. Eating close to bedtime can interfere with your sleep and make it harder to resist emotional eating the next day.
- Find healthy ways to cope with stress and emotions. This might mean talking to a friend, going for a walk, or practicing yoga or meditation.
How to deal with emotional eating triggers
Food can be comforting, sure, but it’s not a real solution to the challenges you’re facing.
In fact, emotional eating can actually make things worse by causing you to feel guilty and ashamed afterward. Not to mention the fact that it can lead to weight gain, which only compounds the problem.
But there are ways to become aware of your triggers.
What sets you off? Is it stress at work? Problems with your partner? A demanding day at school? Once you know what your triggers are, you can start to deal with them head-on.
Create a plan for when temptation strikes. If you know that you’re likely to turn to food when you’re feeling crushed, have a backup plan in place. Maybe call a friend, head to the gym, or take some time for yourself outdoors.
Be mindful of your emotions. This is a big one. When you’re able to be aware of how you’re feeling, you’re less likely to reach for food as a way to cope. Just take a few deep breaths and acknowledge what’s going on before taking any action.
It can be tough to break the habit of emotional eating, we agree. But it’s possible! Try to keep a positive attitude, and don’t dwell on negative thoughts. This will only lead to more emotional eating. Another thing is to make time for regular exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, which can help improve your moods. Seek professional help if you feel like you’re struggling to break the habit of emotional eating on your own. A therapist can provide guidance and support as you work to overcome this challenge.