Emotional eating can greatly affect our weight-loss efforts. While food can give us a sense of comfort, we can also use food to relieve stress or to simply feel better. This type of eating is a way of filling our emotional needs and not our stomachs. Unfortunately, emotional eating usually makes us feel worse afterwards and leads to overeating accompanied with guilt. Emotional eating can be controlled as long as we can identify our triggers which are key to staying in control.
Start a Food Diary
Keep a food diary and log everything you eat every day. Be sure to include when you ate and how you felt while eating. Over time you may be able to find patterns between your mood and the food you ate. Identifying emotional triggers will help you stay in control and help you differentiate cravings from real hunger.
Find Other Ways to Relieve Stress
Finding other ways to relieve stress will stop us from opening the fridge or scrounging the pantry. Activities such as yoga, reading a book or writing are all great ways to relieve stress. Even simple deep breathing is a form of meditation that can be done anywhere to help us regulate our emotions.
Keep the Temptations Away
If there is no junk food at home, then we can’t eat any! Toss out or give away foods that are high in fat, sugars or calories. Replace unhealthy foods with real foods. Whenever you are feeling a little down, grabbing an apple instead of a bag of chips will not only support weight-loss, but you won’t feel guilty about it afterwards!
During moments of sadness or anxiety make sure to resist isolation. Having a family member come visit or even making a quick phone call can relieve negative emotions. The key to overcoming emotional eating is to find other ways to cope with our emotions other than eating.