How to Deal with Emotional Eating

We can’t deny that there is a connection between our emotions and the food we eat. Chocolates are well known as aphrodisiacs. When we feel depressed we sometimes turn to some comfort foods. Or we eat to counter our boredom. But all of these instances of emotional eating can sabotage all of our best efforts to lose weight. What is worse is that emotional eating leads us to seek out high-calorie, sweet, salty and fatty foods.

The connection between mood and food has long been documented. We don’t necessarily turn to food because of stress but because of the foods natural addictive properties. Chocolate can release trace amounts of mood opiated in your body. Food can also be a distraction if you are stressed or anxious about an upcoming event. Your thoughts focus on the food instead of the object of your anxiety. The food however is a temporary fix and you’ll only end up with extra calories.

The underlying problem with emotional eating is that you may not have the right techniques to deal with stressful situations. If you can turn your negative thoughts to positive ones, you can fight the temptation to stuff yourself with food. You can take steps to control these urges to eat. Here a few simple tips to help you stop emotional eating.

Learn to recognize true hunger. Is your hunger brought on by your emotions or actual physical hunger? If your stomach isn’t rumbling and you don’t feel faint with hunger, it’s probably just a craving. Wait a few minutes and let it pass. If it doesn’t then you should probably get a bite to eat.

Don’t buy tempting goodies in bulk. Avoid those ridiculously large bags of chips or that 2 for 1 packets of chocolates. If you are going to buy unhealthy snacks, buy them in smaller packages. Instead of 2 gallons of ice cream buy a pint instead.

Have healthy snacks. Fresh fruit and vegetables are great snack foods because they are very low in calories. Individuals have a higher risk of gaining weight when the craved snack food belongs to the fat-and-sweet group at the top of the Food Guide Pyramid.

Distract yourself. When you are feeling blue, take a walk outside. Go to a friend’s house, one that doesn’t serve junk food. Read a book. Plan enjoyable activities for yourself.

Take up a new hobby. Keeping your mind active is a great way to distract yourself from the kitchen. Learn a new language or take up spelunking.

Learn your personal triggers. What emotions make you reach for that bag of cookies. If you write down your habits, you’ll eventually see a pattern emerging. You can then avoid these triggers.

Eat healthy. You’ll be better equipped to deal with your emotions if you are full up on the basic nutrients. Eating at fairly regular times will allow your stomach to anticipate feeding times thus avoiding any in between snacking.

Get help for your emotions. See your primary care provider or a counselor, or talk things over with a clergyman or a friend.


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