3 Ways to End Emotional Eating
Today is the day that you take back your life. Today is the day that you stop feeding your emotions with food and start feeding them with healthy alternatives.
Understanding Why We Emotionally Eat
Do you order your favorite pizza or drink an extra soda every time you have a bad day at work? Or, whenever you have rough day do you stop at the grocery store and get 5 bags of your favorite candy bar? Emotional eating causes your weight to go up and down like a yoyo. Learning what fuels your desire to eat when your emotions are high will help you learn to say no when those urges kick in.
What Is Emotional Eating
Sometimes the strongest food cravings hit when you're at your weakest point emotionally. You may turn to food for comfort — consciously or unconsciously — when facing a difficult problem, feeling stressed or even feeling bored. Emotional eating can sabotage your weight-loss efforts.
Why Do We Emotionally Eat
Occasionally using food as a pick me up, a reward, or to celebrate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But when eating is your primary emotional coping mechanism—when your first impulse is to open the refrigerator whenever you’re stressed, upset, angry, lonely, exhausted, or bored—you get stuck in an unhealthy cycle where the real feeling or problem is never addressed.
Emotional hunger can’t be filled with food. Eating may feel good in the moment, but the feelings that triggered the eating are still there. And you often feel worse than you did before because of the unnecessary calories you’ve just consumed.
No matter how powerless you feel over food and your feelings, it is possible to make a positive change. You can find healthier ways to deal with your emotions, learn to eat mindfully instead of mindlessly, regain control of your weight, and finally put a stop to emotional eating.
Are You An Emotional Eater
• Do you eat more when you’re feeling stressed?
• Do you eat when you’re not hungry or when you’re full?
• Do you eat to feel better (to calm and soothe yourself when you’re sad, mad, bored, anxious, etc.)?
• Do you reward yourself with food?
• Do you regularly eat until you’ve stuffed yourself?
• Does food make you feel safe? Do you feel like food is a friend?
• Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?
Understanding why you emotionally eat will help put you in the right direction to change those habits!
Ways to Stop Emotionally Eating & Lose Weight
Changing your habits will allow you to have to success in your weight loss journey. Once you have found the tools that work for you, the weight will fall right off.
1. Identify Your Emotional Triggers
Stress – Ever notice how stress makes you hungry? It’s not just in your mind. When stress is chronic, your body produces high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and fried foods—foods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure. The more uncontrolled stress in your life, the more likely you are to turn to food for emotional relief.
Stuffing emotions – Eating can be a way to temporarily silence or “stuff down” uncomfortable emotions, including anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, resentment, and shame. While you’re numbing yourself with food, you can avoid the difficult emotions you’d rather not feel.
If you can identify these triggers then they will allow you to understand why you are choosing to eat and help you chose differently.
2. Learn to Accept Your Feelings- Even the Bad Ones
While it may seem that the core problem is that you’re powerless over food, emotional eating actually stems from feeling powerless over your emotions. You don’t feel capable of dealing with your feelings head on, so you avoid them with food.
Allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable emotions can be scary. You may fear that, like Pandora’s box, once you open the door you won’t be able to shut it. But the truth is that when we don’t obsess over or suppress our emotions, even the most painful and difficult feelings subside relatively quickly and lose their power to control our attention. To do this you need to become mindful and learn how to stay connected to your moment-to-moment emotional experience. This can enable you to rein in stress and repair emotional problems that often trigger emotional eating.
3. Steps for Mindful Eating
1. Begin with your shopping list.
2. Come to the table with an appetite—but not when ravenously hungry.
3. Start with a small portion.
4. Appreciate your food.
5. Bring all your senses to the meal.
6. Take small bites.
7. Chew thoroughly.
8. Eat slowly.
Put the emotional eating behind you and start to take back your life.
If you need additional help changing your habits or controlling your emotional eating, my Get Zen! program is the best option. During this program, you’ll learn my top strategies for how to manage stress and the chaos in your life. Each module is delivered in easy bite-sized pieces. Since you already have enough on your plate, it’s designed to be simple to digest and put into practice.