Emotional eating can really destroy your weight loss plans. Making sure that you get a grip on this will really help you lose weight in the future.
Before we get too far in, though – If you want to know how to control emotional eating, you should know for sure exactly what it is.
See, sometimes we get a longing to eat for reasons that have nothing to do with actual hunger. We have desires for food (usually fattening foods that are salty or sweet) when emotions are in highs or lows. We have the urge to eat, and we think nothing else will make us better.
You might recall how people say that they gain lots of weight when they break up with someone, for example.
Emotional eating sometimes happens when there’s a major incidence to trigger it, such as the a breakup, a job loss, etc. It can also happen for smaller things, such as being nagged at by a boss, or dealing with traffic.
The problem with emotional eating is that it makes problems even worse, because it leads to guilt issues, weight gain, and poor health.
If you want to know how to control emotional eating, there are a few things that you can do right away.
- Figure out why you eat at certain points and what events “trigger” it.
- Identify what your true hunger signals are… and what the signals are when you just want to emotionally eat.
- Reduce the availability of your trigger foods. Simply buy less of them and don’t have them around the house.
- No skipping meals… this just leads to more emotional eating.
- Find other ways to let out your stress.
If Emotional Eating is a Serious Problem for You, then Master these Steps.
- Tame your stress. If stress contributes to your emotional eating, try a stress management technique, such as yoga, meditation or relaxation.
- Have a hunger reality check. Is your hunger physical or emotional? If you ate just a few hours ago and don’t have a rumbling stomach, you’re probably not really hungry. Give the craving a little time to pass.
- Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you’re feeling when you eat and how hungry you are. Over time, you may see patterns emerge that reveal the connection between mood and food.
- Get support. You’re more likely to give in to emotional eating if you lack a good support network. Lean on family and friends or consider joining a support group.
- Fight boredom. Instead of snacking when you’re not truly hungry, distract yourself. 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 supplies of comfort foods in your home if they’re hard for you to resist. And if you feel angry or blue, postpone your trip to the grocery store until you’re sure that you have your emotions in check.
- Don’t deprive yourself. When you’re trying to achieve a weight loss goal, you may limit your calories too much, eat the same foods frequently and banish the treats you enjoy. This may just serve to increase your food cravings, especially in response to emotions. Let yourself enjoy an occasional treat and get plenty of variety to help curb cravings.
- Snack healthy. If you feel the urge to eat between meals, choose a low-fat, low-calorie snack, such as fresh fruit, vegetables with fat-free dip, or un-buttered popcorn. Or try low-fat, lower calorie versions of your favorite foods to see if they satisfy your craving.
- Get enough sleep. If you’re constantly tired, you might snack to try to give yourself an energy boost. Take a nap or go to bed earlier instead.
- Seek therapy. If you’ve tried self-help options but you still can’t get control of your emotional eating, consider therapy with a professional mental health provider.Therapy can help you understand the motivations behind your emotional eating and help you learn new coping skills. Therapy can also help you discover whether you may have an eating disorder, which is sometimes connected to emotional eating.
The following article is taken from the Texas State Website
Take Control of Emotional Eating
There is no question that comfort foods such as ice cream or mashed potatoes can help calm many people during stressful times.
Appetite, food preferences, even cravings can be affected by our feelings, and most of the time, we turn to our comfort foods. Unfortunately, most comfort foods tend to be high in calories and fat content. But take heart, you can still indulge in your comfort food of your choice, just be aware of portion size, and be open to trying a new twist on an old standby.
Try to avoid the urge to eat as a way to deal with anger or depression.
The next time you are feeling emotional, why not take a short walk or bike ride. Occasionally a change of scenery can snap you our of it before you eat a pint of ice cream.
Here are some healthier twists on old comfort foods
- Are cookies your thing? Try an oatmeal-raisin cookie or vanilla wafer.
- If you prefer a salty alternative, try pretzels dipped in spicy mustard, or baked tortilla chips with salsa.
- Add grated fresh vegetables to your meat loaf, mashed potatoes or lasagna.
- Puree fresh fruit such as berries or pears for a homemade topping good on grilled poultry or seafood.
- Substitute applesauce or pureed prunes in place of half the fat in your muffin, bread or cookie recipe.