5 Steps To Help Emotional Eaters Cope
Emotional eating can be so destructive to your weight loss goals.
When we’re in that frenzied moment we feel so helpless, right?
The only way to beat it is to create a resilient mindset so we don’t get stuck in guilt.
Emotional eating is one of the biggest factors leading to weight gain. Eating out of stress or boredom instead of hunger has become very common in today’s culture. If we’re bored, tired, mad, sad, or elated we celebrate with food. We tend to overeat.
Most often, these celebrations cause us to eat even when we’re not hungry. If you find yourself eating for comfort instead of hunger here are 5 steps you can take to avoid emotional eating.
1 – Decide that it’s OK to be uncomfortable
One of the reasons that people eat when they’re emotional is because they’re uncomfortable. Uncomfortable emotions like anxiety, fear, anger, and boredom often lead people to eat when they are not actually hungry.
A key mindset shift you should work on is getting comfortable with this emotional discomfort.
Psychology Today recommends that you spend a few minutes getting comfortable being uncomfortable before you give in to emotional eating cravings.
Negative emotional states are a part of life. One thing that you can count on is the ups and downs of life. Learning how to sit with an uncomfortable and uneasy emotion, and be ok with it is key to overcoming emotional stress and eating.
Spend time contemplating this concept and try some positive affirmations. Like “I am embracing all my emotions, I accept they are an integral part of me.”
2 – Try the broccoli test before caving to cravings
One of the hardest things for people who emotionally eat is to learn whether or not they’re eating because they’re hungry or because they’re emotional. The cues to the body are almost identical in people who have spent long periods of time eating to cope with negative emotions.
One of the easiest ways to teach yourself the difference between hunger and emotional stress is the broccoli test. Some professionals tell us that if we take the time to ask whether or not we would eat broccoli, it can be fairly easy to determine whether or not we’re actually hungry.
Most emotional food cravings would quickly rule out this high-fiber veggie. If you can’t stomach the thought of vegetables, then you’re probably not actually hungry.
3 – Get busy doing things and learn to enjoy every moment
One of the strongest eating responses comes when boredom strikes. People find themselves reaching for food for any number of mind-numbing reasons.
The office drawer full of fattening snacks becomes a way to cope with boredom instead of a way to handle hunger.
So the next time you feel triggered to eat emotionally, get busy doing any type of activity except eating. If you’re at work get up and stretch, take 5 and walk around the office or around the block.
At home, play a board game, make a craft, read a good book, and play with your kids. Any activity to get you out of your current emotional state should help you avoid the craving.
4 – Keep track of your eating patterns with a food journal
When emotional eating is a problem, maintaining a food journal isn’t just about logging the foods you eat. It’s about keeping a record of how you felt and what was going on at the time you were eating.
It’s like self-reflection. You’ll start to notice more about your personal habits and possibly begin changing them for the better.
If the only time you get the extra-large milkshake is after a stressful day at work and when traffic is bad, you may be able to plan your life to work around these stress triggers.
The Mayo Clinic points out that if you learn your weaknesses when it comes to food and know what sets you off, you can begin to learn what will keep you on track as well.
5 – Build resilience so you don’t get stuck in noise. Learn to let go
The final step in coping with emotional eating is to build resilience. If you build emotional toughness, it will help you not only with emotional eating but also with all other areas of your life.
Some things you can do are stop dramatizing, get perspective, and recharge. All of these can be great tools when it comes to building up your ability to bounce back from setbacks.
Learn to let go of the things that are causing you to feel stress or emotions. Just decide to let it go. Forgive anyone you need to forgive, it’ll make you feel better instantly.
If you can’t figure out how to cope with your emotional stress, there are certified mental health professionals who can assist you with a cognitive behavioral therapy program.
Psychology Today shows that these programs have been widely successful.
Now you have 5 great ways to cope with your emotional eating.
What works best for you?
Do you have a special way to handle your emotions that we missed?
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