When you are at your weakest point emotionally, you crave for sweets or chips. This way the food cravings can lead you to a bad habit of emotional eating. It can be triggered any time; when facing a difficult problem, feeling stressed or even feeling bored.
Emotional eating has sabotaged weight goals of many people. There few steps you can follow to get back on track with your weight loss goals and get rid of emotional eating for good.
Find Your Trigger
Most of the times emotional eating is linked t the experience of unpleasant feeling like guilt, shame, anger or stress. Positive emotions like rewarding yourself for achieving a goal or celebrating a holiday or happy event can trigger emotional eating too. You can try and identify your trigger from below:
- Stress – Stress can make you feel hungry due to the release of a stress hormone called cortisol in the body. This hormone triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and high-fat foods, in short, foods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure.
- Ignoring Feelings – Trying to numb down feelings like fear, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, resentment, and shame can be made easy when you stuff your mouth with snacks.
- Boredom – Have noticed that you tend to feel hungry when you are bored? Food gives you something to do and fills you up and distracts you from underlying feelings of purposelessness and dissatisfaction with your life.
- Childhood Habits – Were you treated with ice cream or pizza when you got a good report card? Then you are experiencing positive emotional eating where you eat to reminisce about the past. You cherish the moments spend with your family by eating cookies and burgers.
- Social Influences – Meeting your friends for brunch can be a great way to relieve chaotic stress at work. But this is the place you tend to overeat simply because the food is there or because everyone else is eating.Now that you have identified your trigger you may want to know ways to keep this in control.
How To Avoid Emotional Eating?
A food diary is a good idea to keep track of your eating habits. This way you’ll also be able to identify your triggers for emotional eating. In this diary, you may write how you feel when you eat and also your cravings.
If stress causes your emotional eating then you can get it in control using stress management techniques like exercises, yoga, meditation or deep breathing.
Check whether your hunger is emotional or physical. If you ate just an hour ago and still feel hungry then it’s a craving and you should let some time pass. The craving will pass
Loneliness and lack of friendly support can cause an outburst of emotional eating. Get a support network from family friends or a support group.
Some Handy Tips
Instead of snacking when you’re not hungry, distract yourself and substitute a healthier behavior. Take a walk, watch a movie, play with your cat, listen to music, read, surf the Internet or call a friend.
Take away temptation. Don’t keep hard-to-resist comfort foods in your home. And if you feel angry or blue, postpone your trip to the grocery store until you have your emotions in check.
Don’t stalk on your favorite snacks at home. Try to postpone a trip to the grocery store if you are hungry, angry (hangry!) or stressed out. Calm yourself first then go to the grocery store.
When trying to lose weight try to eat foods that provide satiety and have essential nutrients. Do enjoy an occasional treat, and get plenty of variety to help curb cravings. Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite snack completely.
If you feel the urge to eat between meals, choose a low-fat, low-calorie snack, such as fresh fruit, vegetables with low-fat dip or unbuttered popcorn. Or try low-fat, lower-calorie versions of your favorite foods to see if they satisfy your craving.
Try to forgive yourself if you have an outburst of emotions and overeat. Turn to a new leaf next day. Analyze the situation and learn from your mistakes. Focus on positive thought and give yourself credit for not repeating the same mistakes.
Mindful eating is a practice that develops your awareness of eating habits and allows you to pause between your triggers and your actions.
Here are some ways to incorporate mindful eating in your life.
- Make yourself aware of your physical and emotional cues.
- Know your non-hunger triggers for eating
- Analyze on how you buy, prepare and eat your food
- Choosing foods that give you both enjoyment and nourishment
- Learning to tackle your emotional needs in ways other than eating