Tips to stop emotional eating
Emotional eating affects both men and women. It may be caused by a number of factors, including stress, hormonal changes, or mixed hunger cues.
People choose food during their emotional distress because negative emotions sometimes lead to a feeling of emptiness or an emotional void and food is believed to be a way to fill that void and create a false feeling of “fullness” or temporary wholeness.
Other causatives include;
- retreating from social support during times
- of emotional need
- not engaging in activities that might otherwise
- relieve stress, sadness, and so on
- not understanding the difference between physical and emotional
- using negative self-talking that’s related to bingeing
- episodes. This can create a cycle of emotional eating
- changing cortisol levels in response to stress, leading to
How to deal with emotional eating
- Find other ways to cope with stress: Discovering another way to deal with negative emotions is often the first step toward overcoming emotional eating. This could mean writing in a journal, reading a book, or finding a few minutes to otherwise relax and decompress from the day.
- Exercise: Some people find relief in getting regular exercise. A walk or jog around the block or a quickie yoga routine may help in particularly emotional moments.
- Try meditation: There are a variety of studies that support mindfulness meditation as a treatment for binge eating disorder and emotional eating.
- Keep a food diary: Keeping a log of what you eat and when you eat it may help you identify triggers that lead to emotional eating. While it can be challenging, try to include everything you eat however big or small and record the emotions you’re feeling in that moment.
- Eat healthy: Making sure you get enough nutrients to fuel your body is also key. Try reaching for healthy snacks, like fresh fruit or vegetables, plain popcorn, and other low-fat, low-calorie foods.
- Take common offenders out of your pantry: Consider trashing or donating foods in your cupboards that you often reach for in moments of strife. Think high-fat, sweet or calorie-laden things, like chips, chocolate, and ice cream. Also postpone trips to the grocery store when you’re feeling upset.
- Pay attention to volume: Resist grabbing a whole bag of chips or other food to snack on. Measuring out portions and choosing small plates to help with portion control are mindful eating habits to work on developing.
- Seek support: Resist isolation in moments of sadness or anxiety. Even a quick phone call to a friend or family member can do wonders for your mood.
- Work on positive self-talk: Feelings of shame and guilt are associated with emotional eating. It’s important to work on the self-talk you experience after an episode or it may lead to a cycle of emotional eating behavior.