Emotional eating can turn into a serious situation. Health issues can arise from this condition, such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Signs of this condition include eating when you are bored, lonely, angry, depressed, frustrated, or afraid. Overeating and gaining an unhealthy amount of weight often causes more stress. Here are 8 tips on coping with emotional eating that have helped many individuals.
8. There’s Nothing Wrong with Occasional Cravings
The trick here is to know how to go about giving in to a certain craving so that it remains a craving and doesn’t turn into overeating. It’s very easy to sit down with a bag of chips or a package of cookies and finish off every last one without even realizing you are doing so. Try this: separate the contents into smaller servings so that you can monitor how much you are eating in one sitting. It’s important not to grab all the servings at once though. This would defeat your purpose!
7. Don’t Skip Meals
Skipping a meal is a sure way to be even more ravenous than usual later on. When you miss a meal, your blood sugar levels tend to be much lower and rationalization can often fall by the wayside. I know I become much more edgy when I miss a meal. This edginess causes me to snap at innocent people for no reason at all. It also causes me to eat everything in sight the moment I walk through the door.
6. Talk to Your Doctor about Checking for Other Health Issues
Sometimes emotional eating is triggered by another medical condition that is unknown. For instance, depression can cause emotional eating. By dealing with depression emotional eating might then cease as well. Doctors know what signs and symptoms to look for when searching for the cause of something. The answer might be very simple and making a doctor’s appointment could be the first step needed.
5. Make a Schedule for Meals
I often find it much easier to cook a meal when I know what I’m supposed to be cooking. There are days when I can’t think straight and opt to skip making a big meal. During these times, I find myself grabbing something quick from the pantry and snarfing it down before I realize what it is. Try creating a weekly meal schedule and see if following it helps you to curb the emotional eating that occurs from stress.
4. Learn How to Tell the Difference between Actual Hunger and Emotional Eating
Emotional hunger usually occurs rather suddenly and is the type of hunger that has to be satisfied right at that very moment. Physical hunger slowly creeps up on you and it’s possible to wait before eating. When the hunger is a physical one, you’ll eventually feel full and quit eating. Hunger that is derived from emotions causes the hunger to resist subsiding because the emotion is still there. Once the emotion is gone or has lessened, you will be more inclined to stop eating.
3. Clean out the Cupboards
Getting rid of temptation can be helpful to people who rummage through the cabinets when they are feeling less than happy with themselves or the day’s events. Take a tour through the pantry to see what junk food is available and get rid of it. Have fresh or dried fruit on hand, nuts, rice cakes, or some other form of snack food that is low in calories and big on crunch. Sometimes the extra salt and crunchy texture of junk food is what keeps people wanting more.
2. Come up with Alternatives to Food for Reducing Stress
Sitting down in front of the television with a bag of cheesy puffs is my idea of relaxing from time to time. However, it isn’t the healthiest way to deal with a stressful day. Try taking a walk with the dog, reading a book, listening to a favorite CD, calling up an old friend you haven’t spoken to for a while, or indulging in a bubble bath.
1. Write down Everything You Eat
Sometimes you don’t realize just how much you’ve eaten during one sitting or throughout the day. If you are having a particularly rough week, the amount of emotional eating that has taken place can be astounding. Try keeping a food diary and mark down what you eat, when you eat it, and how much was consumed. You could even jot down your feelings next to each food entry to monitor which emotions might be the main trigger for eating.
Besides these 8 tips on coping with emotional eating, it helps to have someone to talk to about your situation. Ask a friend or member of the family to help you when you need it most. If you are able to give this individual a call when you are feeling frustrated, blue, disappointed, or any emotion that causes you to resort to eating, this can be a great source of support. Do you suffer from emotional eating? What do you do to try and cope?