Let’s face it. Most of us have the urge to eat things we know we shouldn’t. And when we’re feeling emotional, the urge can be even stronger. Emotional eating is damaging to your self-esteem and your health. It can even get expensive.
Gaining control over yourself and minimising your emotional eating can be challenging, but important. There are far healthier ways to deal with emotional discomfort.
Minimise emotional eating with these strategies:
1 - Get unhealthy food out of the house
You don’t often hear of someone emotionally eating too much salad, broccoli, or steamed salmon. Give yourself a fighting chance and minimize the opportunity to eat emotionally.
2 - Focus on hunger.
Before you eat, ask yourself if you’re hungry. Show yourself that you often want to eat even when your body doesn’t want any food. Keep telling yourself that you’re the type of person that only eats when you’re hungry. In time, you’ll grow to believe it.
3 - Identify your triggers.
Notice when you’re most likely to eat without any discretion. Is it at night? After a conversation with your ex? Financial pressure? Loneliness? Identify your triggers and avoid them or find another way to deal with those times that doesn’t involve food. Retrain yourself to respond in a new way.
4 - Focus on being more present.
It’s hard to feel stressed or out of sorts when your mind is focused on the present. We can only drive ourselves crazy when we focus on the past or the future. It’s when we’re fantasising that we get upset. Keep your attention on what you’re doing.
5 - Pause.
When you get the urge to eat poorly, stop yourself and just sit for a minute. Notice how the urge feels. Where do you feel it? How would you describe it? Sit with it and observe it. Do this for at least 10 minutes. Keep telling yourself that you only eat when you’re hungry. The urge may go away on its own.
6 - Relax.
When you want to eat, but you know you shouldn’t, try to relax your neck and shoulders. Take a deep breath. Visualise something that you find relaxing. Listen to relaxing music. Do whatever is convenient and soothing. Your urge to eat will be greatly diminished.
7 - Celebrate progress.
Each time you successfully avoid eating emotionally, congratulate yourself. It gets easier each time you’re successful. Keep the progress going. For some people, it takes surprisingly few successes to make a permanent change.
8 - Learn to work through discomfort in other parts of your life
Emotional eating is just an ineffective way of dealing with discomfort. Enhance your ability to deal with unpleasant feelings by experiencing them more often and dealing with them appropriately.
Coach Steve-O developed a fat loss method for women to help them become leaner, fitter and more confident and to improve their quality of life through nutrition.