Any of the above apply to you right now? How about more than one? That entire list can be trigger emotional eating. Emotional eating is most prevalent in women as we tend to carry everyone else’s burdens, and soak everyone else’s emotions. I myself am no stranger to putting away an entire carton of ice cream…..I can happily say it’s been years since I’ve done it, but I have done it. So why do we emotionally eat? Emotional eating is eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness. Both major life events and the hassles of daily life can trigger negative emotions that lead to emotional eating and disrupt your weight-loss efforts. Some people actually eat less in the face of strong emotions, if you’re in emotional distress you may turn to impulsive or binge eating — you may rapidly eat whatever’s convenient, without even enjoying it. In fact, your emotions may become so tied to your eating habits that you automatically reach for a sweet treat whenever you’re angry or stressed without stopping to think about what you’re doing. Food also serves as a distraction. If you’re worried about an upcoming event or stewing over a conflict, you may focus on eating “comfort” food instead of dealing with the situation. Whatever emotions drive you to overeat, the end result is often the same. The emotions return, and you may also now bear the additional burden of guilt about setting back your weight-loss goal. This can also lead to an unhealthy cycle — your emotions trigger you to overeat, you beat yourself up for getting off your weight-loss track, you feel badly, and you overeat again. It’s a vicious cycle….and we’ve all been through it.
So what can we do to help combat emotional eating? Try these little tricks the next time the cookies are calling your name!
- Tame your stress. If stress contributes to your emotional eating, try a stress management technique, such as yoga, meditation or relaxation.
- Have a hunger reality check. Is your hunger physical or emotional? If you ate just a few hours ago and don’t have a rumbling stomach, you’re probably not really hungry. Give the craving a little time to pass.
- Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you’re feeling when you eat and how hungry you are. Over time, you may see patterns emerge that reveal the connection between mood and food.
- Get support. You’re more likely to give in to emotional eating if you lack a good support network. Lean on family and friends or consider joining a support group.
- Fight boredom. Instead of snacking when you’re not truly hungry, distract yourself. Take a walk, watch a movie, play with your kids/pets, listen to music, read, surf the Internet or call a friend.
- Take away temptation. Don’t keep supplies of “comfort” foods in your home if they’re hard for you to resist. And if you feel angry or depressed, postpone your trip to the grocery store until you’re sure that you have your emotions in check.
- Don’t deprive yourself. When you’re trying to achieve a weight-loss goal, you may limit your calories too much, eat the same foods frequently and banish the treats you enjoy. This may just serve to increase your food cravings, especially in response to emotions. Let yourself enjoy an occasional treat and get plenty of variety to help curb cravings.
- Snack healthy.If you feel the urge to eat between meals, choose a low-fat, low-calorie snack, such as fresh fruit, vegetables with fat-free dip, or unbuttered popcorn. Or try low-fat, lower calorie versions of your favorite foods to see if they satisfy your craving.
- Get enough sleep. If you’re constantly tired, you might snack to try to give yourself an energy boost. Take a nap or go to bed earlier instead.
- Seek therapy. If you’ve tried self-help options but you still can’t get control of your emotional eating, consider therapy with a professional mental health provider. Therapy can help you understand the motivations behind your emotional eating and help you learn new coping skills. Therapy can also help you discover whether you may have an eating disorder, which is sometimes connected to emotional eating.
If you have an episode of emotional eating, forgive yourself and start fresh the next day. Try to learn from the experience and make a plan for how you can prevent it in the future. Focus on the positive changes you’re making in your eating habits and give yourself credit for making changes that’ll lead to better health.
Whew…that was a lot to take in huh. The first step is to truly stop and recoginize when the binge is coming on. I know it’s easier said than done, but you can begin to take control of yourself when this happens. TRUST ME! This is a subject that I am no stranger to, I’m not just talking out of my arse…..I’ve been there, I still struggle with it. I encourage you guys to comment on this post with your thoughts and feelings! If you have any tricks or advice that helps you fight emotional eating, please share!
I was going to post some recipes, but since we just talked about NOT eating when unneccessary I don’t think food porn is appropriate LOL. However I will post a picture of the most ADORABLE prize I received from The Foodie Blog Roll! I adore this site, and if you’re a fellow Food Blogger, join up!!!
Isn’t it super cute?!!!! I NEVER win anything so I was jumping up and down when I received my winner notification email!
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Have a SENSATIONAL Friday friends!!! Healthy Wishes!!