Hi, my name is D'shaunte, and I am an emotional eater! Phew, I feel like I just made an introduction at an AA meeting. It’s true, I really am. It took me a while to discover that I crammed food to fill whatever emotional void I was having at the time. I mean, I had heard of emotional eating many times. I read articles over the ordeal, but I never fully took the time to examine my behavior. Once I did, I came to the realization that my up and down weight issues were drastically caused by the need to fill my emotional discrepancies with chocolate chip cookies, or donuts, or bowls of mashed potatoes. If you are an emotional eater you typically crave food during trying times. Stress, work related issues, relationship problems can all cause you to head up to the kitchen and reach for all the snacky snacks you can find. Emotional eating puts a person in the middle of a vicious cycle. As you eat more, you become more stressed so you keep on eating. The result is not feeling ok, being overweight and still searching to fill the emotional void inside. In this article, I look to offer some tips that I am currently using. The best tips for dealing with emotional eating:
1. Focus on the real issue:
You should understand that eating is the symptom, not the real problem. Make sure that you understand what is making you upset or stressed in the first place. This way you will be able to divert your energy and efforts towards working on your problem, not on the emotional eating issue itself. Take time to think about the situation that made you upset or stressed. Talk to yourself and let it out. There is nothing wrong about feeling sad or angry. Suppressing your feelings can lead to a lot of problems, emotional eating is only one of them. Make sure that you are able to identify and differentiate different feelings so that you are more capable of dealing with them.
2. Give yourself options:
Next time you are under stress, give yourself other options. Like think of 5 places that you can go to relax right now, 5 people that you can talk if you feel stressed, 5 activities that can take your mind off the stress factor, 5 things you can tell yourself to make you feel better or 5 ways that can help you relax. This list will give you 25 options of tools and techniques that you can follow next time you feel like you want to dive into that bowl of ice cream. Display this list on your fridge. Next time you are planning on raiding the kitchen, choose one of these 25 activities and indulge in it for 5 minutes. You will probably feel that you don’t need to fill your insides with food anymore.
You can do this!
3. Take a minute to think about the future:
Before you end up consuming that whole bar of chocolate only to follow it with another, focus on your long term goals. Think about how you want to look on your vacation or even an upcoming party that you want to kill. At the same time, you can choose to make healthier choices when it comes to eating rather than falling under the wave of unhealthy or junk food. Most of the time people who submit to emotional eating will become very stressed later on that they start to beat themselves up and end up dealing with 2 problems instead of one. Instead, think positive. This will help you stop your emotional eating and focus on the positive outcomes that arise from doing so. At the same time, you can engage in a healthy practice like yoga or meditation. It will make you feel less stressed and will definitely take your mind off stress eating.
4. Take your time:
Before you indulge in emotional eating after an upsetting or annoying situation, take a minute to breathe. Allow your mind to relax and to wind off. This will enable you to focus on the issue that is bothering you and will help you not to get into the dilemma of emotional eating that will make you even more stressed and upset. Giving your mind the time to think might stop you from dialing that pizza place. You will feel that you are not really hungry. If you started eating already, then eat slowly. This will send the signals to your brain that you are full, preventing your from eating even more. Below are some books recommended for emotional eaters.
5. Go easy on yourself:
Sometimes, we just can’t help it and we fall victims to emotional eating. In this case, relax. You don’t really need to add more stress to the one you are already dealing with. Many times people who engage in emotional eating will be so harsh on themselves and will beat themselves up for it, telling them that all their weight loss goals are lost so they might as well eat. In that case they will engage in more emotional eating. If this happens, tell yourself that it happens to everyone and this will help you avoid more emotional eating out of guilt or failure.
These are just a couple of tips that help me. Believe me, the struggle is real. I am working daily on conquering this issue, and so can you. Comment below on how you deal or struggle to deal with emotional eating.