Some of us have a tendency to be emotional eaters, whether we are stressed, sad, or angry. First off, you are not alone and emotional eating is extremely common. Here are a few strategies to help you avoid emotional eating and stay consistent with a healthy eating regimen.
- Identify your emotions! Figure out exactly what feelings are driving you to want to eat in the first place. When you find yourself randomly reaching for food, ask yourself if you are truly hungry or if you are looking for comfort for something. Try to identify the feeling that is behind your need to grab for the bag of chips or cookies. Are you anxious? Lonely? Frustrated?
- Don’t be afraid to pick up a pen! Once you’ve determined your emotions, try to put them down on paper. You can grab the phone or type a note if you don’t have paper available. Try to write down what exactly is bugging you! If you’re annoyed with something or someone, you can vent about it privately, which is much smarter than lashing out or overeating.
- Find a better way to cope. Once you know what emotions are causing you to crave food, figure out what you can do to combat these feelings. If you identify that you eat when you are alone, call a friend or go out for coffee. If stress is your trigger to eat, try an activity to calm yourself down. Writing, coloring, yoga, and meditation are great. Don’t be afraid to go out for a quick walk to clear your head.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you do some emotional eating. Always remember to be kind to yourself. We all make mistakes, but by being hard on yourself, more negative emotions will begin to boil. Remember, you have to beat the vicious cycle. Try incorporating a better self-care routine into your life, like regular massage and exercise to help you reward yourself, rather than with food.
- Remove your temptations. Don’t make it easy for you to go down the emotional binge road. If you can eat an entire cake in one sitting, then don’t buy one and keep it in your house. If chips and pretzels are your go to, then buy single serve bags rather than the full ones. Try to keep healthy treats, like fresh fruits and veggies with salsa, on hand for times when you need to eat in a pinch. If your emotions lead you to eat, the damage will be minimal!
Remember, you’ve got this!