Food is awesome! It looks good, tastes good and makes us feel satisfied. So, it’s no wonder emotional eating is a coping strategy that most of us use from time to time. While the occasional indulgence when you’re not hungry is okay, using food to make you feel better on a consistent basis won’t do you any favors. And, it usually also only lasts as long as the food does! Instead of needing to chow down on a burger to make you feel alright, use these 4 tips to overcome emotional eating for good.
1. Avoid Dieting
Most diets promote restrictive thoughts about food. And, when we’re focused on what we ‘can’t’ have, it’s usually the thing you want more than anything else. Although your willpower might help you stick to a restrictive diet for a while, having a ‘I can’t eat that’ mentality means you’re more likely to binge eat when you’re not truly hungry.
2. Sit with Your Emotions
We often eat to cover up what we’re really feeling. There’s no blame there! Emotions can be uncomfortable! But, emotion denied is emotion deferred. Instead of devouring a tub of ice cream, acknowledge what you’re feeling and let yourself sit with it for a while. Tell yourself that it’s okay to feel sad, mad, lonely or hurt. Allowing yourself to feel emotion will help you to move on. And, if you’re not sure how you’re feeling, give yourself time to think about it. Writing your thoughts in a diary might help too.
3. Know Your Triggers
Next time you find yourself eating when you’re not actually hungry, take note of what triggered you to do so. Are you bored? Trying to avoid having to do work? Do you find yourself watching tv with an empty pack of chips you didn’t even notice disappeared? Once you know what triggers you to eat emotionally, you can start to change your habits. If you’re bored, go for a walk or find a new hobby. Stock the fridge up with healthy snacks and get rid of the chips, lollies and chocolate.
4. Eat Mindfully
When you’re eating, enjoy eating! Don’t multi-task by watching tv, talking on the phone or eating lunch at your work desk. Doing this will help you realize when you are and aren’t hungry so you can better learn to respect your body’s hunger cues.
Overcoming Emotional Eating
Emotional eating is a habit that’s usually developed over a lifetime. So, it’s only natural that creating a healthier relationship with emotions and food takes time!
It’s almost definite that at some point you’re going to slip up! But, don’t let that discourage you! Slip ups are the perfect opportunity to not only learn more about your triggers but it also shows you what coping techniques are helping you to overcome it. Cut yourself some slack, tell yourself it’s okay and use what you’ve learned for next time.
By following these tips to overcome emotional eating you’ll begin to develop healthier habits to cope with your emotions. And, over time, you won’t find yourself automatically reaching for food when you’re sad, upset or lonely anymore. Focus on these positive changes and be proud of the healthy mindset you’re creating!