Yesterday’s post explored the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger as a way to begin to understand emotional eating. When we use food as a way to deal with emotional needs, we create a vicious cycle; the food temporarily brings us a ‘full’ feeling, but at a cost as we usually create a second emotional response of guilt and remorse.
Perhaps one of the most conscious ways to end emotional eating is to promote and choose ways to reduce overall stress. Second to this strategy are the ‘moments of change’ we must begin to build when we are standing in front of the fridge, looking to satisfy.
- Begin to examine and implement self-care. Daily. This is of great importance when it comes to finding a sense of balance between our busy lives and the need to care for ourselves.
- Examine the pace of your life. Busy constantly? The chances that you will turn to food to satisfy an emotional need increases as we spend most of the day too busy to pay attention to our emotions at all.
- Exercise. You knew I was going to say it. Exercise spaced out over the course of the week counters the effect of stress – it also increases dopamine naturally and allows us to be more in tune with our bodies.
- Remove the offenders. You can’t eat what isn’t in the fridge or pantry.
- Replace the distraction. If watching TV puts your mind in a restless argument with yourself about getting the chips out, replace the distraction – take up knitting while watching TV, do a crossword during commercials – those types of activities usually help curve boredom eating.
- Start a food diary. Nothing like being accountable to everything you put in your mouth. A food diary can not only help us curb the desire to eat just for the sake of eating, it can also help us with healthier food choices and portion control.
These are just some ways that we can begin to curb emotional eating. There are times; however when seeking professional help or additional support will be a necessary part of treatment. When we begin to fill our emotional selves with healthier ways of coping with negative emotions, we live truer to ourselves, feel better physically and can feel more balanced when it comes to processing our feelings.
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