25.Sep.2012 Emotional Eating

Overcome Emotional Eating
Gain Your Power and Control Back

Understanding Emotional Eating

Many people use food as a release of negative energy caused by stress,anxiety, sadness, depression, boredom or anger. In order to feel better, we reach for ice cream, a bag of chips, casserole, pizza, or whatevercomfort food we desire in that moment of desperation.

Eating this way is not triggered from hunger or necessity, it’s eating to fill a void and to achieve instant gratification.

Emotional eating can be detrimental to your weight loss efforts, causing you to over eat when you’re not even hungry. Often times the foods we choose for comfort are high in calories, sugar, salt, and fat.

Steps for Overcoming the Impulse

emotional eatingYou should enjoy food and there is nothing wrong with having a celebratory piece of cake at a party when you’re not hungry, or having a nice cup of hot cocoa when it’s cold out. Emotional eating becomes a problem when you use food to cope with life’s everyday issues. If you find yourself eating all the time when you’re not hungry, then you know you have a problem. Follow these steps to overcome it.

1. Recognize when you are using food to manage feelings.

For example, you’ve just had a fight with your spouse. Next you start thinking about the cookie dough ice cream in your freezer. You think about how good it would feel to have that ice cream right now, subconsciously thinking it will take your mind off your negative experience and make you feel better.

Or maybe you’ve just had dinner. You’ve crossed everything off your to-do list: the laundry’s done, the kids have had a bath, your presentation for tomorrow is all set. It’s not time for bed yet, so now what. You grab some snacks and sit in front of the TV for a couple hours. Before you realize it, you’ve eaten a bag of chips, a candy bar, and some ice cream.

If you find yourself running to food, stop right there and ask yourself if you are really hungry, or if you’re putting your focus on food to avoid focusing on something uncomfortable like anger or boredom.


2. Create a food journal.

Food JournalTo do research on your habits, write down what you eat, when you eat, how you feel emotionally, and how you feel physically. This will draw a connection between your food intake and your feelings. The valuable insight you gain from a food journal will shed light on habits you may need to break. 

3. Be mindful of when you are eating.

When you overeat, you often do so because of mindless snacking, failing to realize how much you have eaten until you really pay attention and tally it up. Be present when you eat, savor your food and make it a mindful activity.

4. Find other ways to cope.

If you’re bored at night before bed, read a book or go for a walk. If you must watch TV, instead of eating while you do, give yourself a pedicure or use a magazine to keep yourself occupied during the commercials.

If you’re upset about something, try talking to a friend or going to the gym to work off some stress and get endorphins pumping.

You Can Beat This Problem

With effort, you can overcome emotional eating. You can learn new habits to regulate your emotions and deal with them in healthy ways. Step by step and decision by decision, you will develop a new way of dealing with issues. You may want to seek professional help for dealing with difficult experiences. No more numbing your emotions with food.

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