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How to End Emotional Eating

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1 How to End Emotional Eating on 19th November 2009, 11:37 am

As many of you know, it isn't always hunger that causes you to reach for your favorite foods. Our moods and emotions can play a big role in how we view food and in how well we are able to stick to a healthy eating plan.

Emotional Eating Triggers

Fatigue caused by a hectic daily schedule or being overwhelmed by responsibilities can set off emotional eating. Depression and loneliness are other causes: Many people eat to fill a void or use food to keep themselves company. Some look to food as a distraction from a traumatic experience, such as the loss of a job, a death, or a breakup. But most who resort to emotional eating find that it can't be traced to one specific cause — it's simply a well-established pattern to fall back on food when they need comforting.

However, it's not impossible to change patterns of behavior. There are other ways to deal with complicated emotions, and it's much healthier to process feelings than to bury them with food. It's important to realize that ultimately we do have power over our actions. Eating is something that can be controlled and enjoyed.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, here are some helpful ways to prevent your emotions from getting in the way of your weight-loss goals:

Write in a journal. Keeping a food journal not only helps you keep tabs on what you’re eating but also on how you’re feeling at the time. Knowing what your eating triggers are will keep you on track. To break bad habits, you should record not only what and when you eat, but also the circumstances that prompted you to overindulge and make unhealthy choices.

Keep yourself distracted. Instead of focusing on your cravings, engross yourself in a good book, listen to music, watch a movie, call a friend, or better yet, hit the gym or head outdoors and get some exercise.
Cook something healthy. If you take the time and make the effort to prepare a wholesome meal, you’ll really enjoy eating it. Plus, cooking is a great way to take your mind off what’s bothering you.
Reevaluate your emotions. Before you grab that doughnut, take a moment to think, “Is this going to make me feel any better?” Oftentimes, you just need to step back and have that moment of clarity.

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2 Re: How to End Emotional Eating on 19th November 2009, 12:43 pm

I have a few more tips which I gleaned embarassingly enough from an Aussie women's magazine back when I was a teenage 'emotional eater'. It was pretty good advice written by nutritionist. The advice was basically this:

-eat whatever you feel like eating whenever you're hungry. Ignore the 'rules' about mealtimes etc (at first) and don't eat because of social pressure. At first you'll eat donuts and chocolate 24/7 but after a while you'll start to crave veggies or proteins. Learn to listen to your body and what it needs.
-eat the thing you're hungry for but stop as soon as you're full. So don't feel that you have to finish the piece of chocolate cake or whatever.
-eat again as soon as you're hungry and eat whatever you feel like. Keep this in mind whenever you eat - you can eat whatever you feel like whenever you're hungry so there's no need to binge eat now. In fact if you binge eat now you won't be hungry again for ages.
-if you do binge eat - forgive yourself - everyone does this from time to time. Just wait until you're hungry again and follow the rules above.
-never, ever restrict your eating - but of course learn to listen to your stomach - so eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full.
-learn to love your body the way it is. Buy clothes that fit, exercise for fun and to feel better but not to lose weight.
-banish guilt feelings abotu food - give your body what it needs
-if you're feeling down - do something you enjoy which doesn't involve food - go bike riding, ring a friend, have a bath, drink a glass of wine, read a book etc etc.

Anyway I enjoy food so much more now as an adult than as a depressed teen who used to demolish an entire packet of chocky bikkies whenever I was feeling down. Also I'm just happier. I don't think about food all the time anymore and I feel absolutely no guilt about eating. I eat my fair share of junk food but generally my diet is quite balanced. cat

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3 Re: How to End Emotional Eating on 20th November 2009, 1:44 pm

I haven't read the first article yet but I agree with Piccolina. I eat breakfast adn then I have my lunch time sandwich when I feel hungry..today it was 9.45 (earlier than usual). I just have a small one, and then maybe one in the afternoon or a banana, and then I probably won't be hungry 'til dinner time. sometimes I forget to eat coz I am so busy and wonder why I feel a bit weak...I do get caught-out sometimes when I am getting t e kids from school and I think 'shoot I should have remembered to eat' (prob spend too much time on internet instead!!!) . Boredem and eating are strongly limed...sometimes I'll jsut make a cuup of coffee rather than start munching on rubbish!

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