Tips to stop emotional eating
There’s no denying food makes you feel good when it tastes good. Food is tied to emotions. People plan dates around food, reach for it when they are stressed and use it as a reward.
Emotional eating is using food to cope instead of listening to hunger cues. If you give in to emotional eating too often, it leads to weight gain.
While food is meant to be enjoyed, habitually processing emotions through eating can be detrimental, because it can lead to feelings of guilt and ultimately binging. Here are a few ways to keep your diet in check, and kick emotional eating to the curb.
- Identify Triggers
Triggers can sneak up on you without you knowing. Whether it be a certain food item or a certain someone that pressures you to indulge. Let me preface this by saying you should never feel guilty for eating foods you love, you just have to be honest with yourself.
Do you eat when you are stressed? Do you eat when you are depressed? Do you sneak food to eat alone in secret?
Identifying what causes the trigger is the first step to solving the problem. Remind yourself so you can be on the lookout when it happens. Go easy on yourself, and remember overcoming emotional eating is all about progress, not perfection.
- Make time for yourself
Find a place to channel your feelings and learn how to cope, whether it be a workout or a hobby.
When you feel an urge coming on, channel the energy into your outlet. Instead of focusing on that pizza, remove yourself from the situation. Take a walk. Call a friend.
I value my morning routine, and find having a certain way to start my day kicks it off in the right direction. I go to the gym first thing to start me day off on the right foot. When I get back, I drink my greens, make a cup of coffee and take a few moments to focus on breathing before heading to work. At the end of the night, give yourself time to unwind before heading to bed. Put your phone down, and try to turn your mind off.
- Eat foods you enjoy
One of the biggest reason’s folks fall off their diets and end up eating foods that are otherwise “off limits,” is because they do not know how to cook and season properly. Reaching weight loss goals does not mean eating asparagus and tilapia for every meal.
My meals have a variety of spice, crunch, sweet and savory. Really take the time to sit down and enjoy your food, chewing every bite slowly. When we sit down to eat, we are able to focus on the flavor and experience, rather than scarfing food quickly hovering over the counter (or running out of the door).
Try to follow the 80/20 rule. Your diet should be 80 percent whole foods that are minimally processed and 20 percent from what you would like, adding more flexibility.
- Final thoughts
Putting an end to emotional eating will take time and patience, so go easy on yourself. Apply these tips when you feel like you need a boost to overcome any urges to much, simply because of emotional circumstances.