What do you do when you feel stressed or sad? Unfortunately, some people resort to emotional eating to relieve themselves of negative emotions. Food is not just used to satiate hunger. Some also turn to food for comfort, stress relief, or to reward themselves. Was there a time when you consumed a pint of ice cream or ordered pizza when you were bored or lonely?
Emotional eating may relieve stress or tension, but it won’t fix emotional problems. Most often, it will make you feel worse and guilty afterward. We can still solve this problem and stop the habit of emotional eating. It is not yet too late to turn your life around and practice healthy eating habits. Here are some ways:
Identify emotional triggers and acknowledge them.
Consider these common causes of stress eating and identify which of them trigger negative eating habits.
In our chaotic world, we often feel stressed. As a reaction, our body produced high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that dictates our body to crave salty, sweet, and fried foods.
Pent-up emotions can be toxic and can take a toll on our eating habits. Sometimes, we hide negative emotions and instead turn to food to forget about them.
Feeling empty and bored.
When we are bored, we tend to fulfill our self with food to make our mouths busy. Eating is also a way to fill our time.
Bad childhood habits.
We tend to keep childhood habits for the rest of our lives. Thus, we have to examine which one of these is toxic and should be changed. Did your parents reward you with ice cream or pizza for doing a good deed? Consider changing it.
Having too many friends.
When we have too many friends, we tend to go out with them more often and resist the urge to overeat. As everyone else is eating, it is easy to overindulge or go with the group behavior.
Look for ways to address negative emotions.
Even though diets offer logical nutritional advice, they only work among people who have conscious control over their eating habits. Healthy food will not make sense when emotion gets in the way of dieting. You have to find ways to fulfill you emotionally to stop the cycle of emotional eating.
Feeling depressed or lonely? Why not call a friend or spend time with a friend? When anxious, why not engage in physical activity to release stress! To cope with exhaustion or boredom, consider treating yourself with a hot cup of tea, start reading a good book or watch a comedy show.
Learn when to take a break and examine if you are starving or just having another craving.
Try to resist the tension that requires you to be immediately satiated with food. Believe in yourself that you have the willpower to control what you eat. Try to spend a few moments to reflect your actions. When you have started eating, try putting off eating for five minutes and see if you still want to wait or finish your food. While reflecting on your emotions, try to understand how you are feeling. Make this moment a learning lesson on how you want to react next time.
Savor your food without overeating.
When we are too excited about our food, we mindlessly consume them without minding their different tastes and textures. Slow down and savor every bite of your food. In this way, you will enjoy more and less likely to overeat. Try to take a few deep breaths before eating your food. Focus on the experience of eating by taking time to feel every bite. Use your other senses to enjoy its textures, shapes, colors, and smell.
Back up your move to stop emotional eating with healthy lifestyle habits.
Making drastic changes in your habit will not feel like a burden if it is part of a healthy lifestyle regimen you want to create. Include exercise in your daily routine. Physical exertions release happy hormones and curb the production of cortisol. Get enough rest and sleep. When you don’t have enough sleep, your body will crave sugary foods to boost energy.
This problem will be addressed when you sleep for at least eight hours a day. Make time to bond with other people. Spend more time with positive and happy people. Happiness is infections, and spending time with them will let you stay away from toxicity that may increase stress hormones.
Try these self-help options and see if they make a difference in starting healthy eating habits. If you tried but fail, consider undergoing therapy with a professional. Some professionals specialize in treating eating disorders such as emotional eating. They may provide treatment plans for overeating. On the other end of the spectrum, some people also experience other eating disorders. Some may need atreatment plan for anorexia nervosato change their negative self-image and encourage them to enjoy food and eat more.
It’s not yet too late to change your relationship with food and change your lifestyle. Examine your eating habits now and try to make small changes in your eating habits. Believe in yourself that you can make a change in your life.