12 Practical steps you can take to stop emotional eating today!
12 Practical steps you can take to stop Emotional Eating today!
Stop turning to food and learn how to manage your emotions when there is no therapist to help you
For many people eating is a lot more than satisfying a need when hungry. A lot of the time it is something that people turn to, like a habit such as nail biting. Often people turn to food to alleviate specific emotions, very much like a comfort blanket. So in times of stress, boredom, loneliness, anger, sadness or even as habitually set on by specific triggers like the end of a hard task as a reward mechanism or has become a habit triggered by the end of a long day at work, every situation is different but more and more people do turn to food even after having a full meal.
Believe me, it is not about the delicious taste of that snack but a deeper underlying emotion that is wanting to be fulfilled and turning to food is just a method, a solution if you like that many people have sought to help them out.
While emotional eaters soothe and mask their emotional feelings with food it is important to stop and think carefully about what is going on right at that moment. Become aware and make a conscious thought to ask yourself: What am I feeling right now? Am I really hungry? How do I feel? Am I eating because I need food to fill me or am I feeling an emotional “thing”? What is going on in my life right at this moment that is causing this? Am I upset or from work/partner? Have I been left alone in the house and feeling bored? Am I feeling unhappy or angry?
By identifying these triggers you can be well on your way to correcting it with simple changes in your thought and behaviour patterns and continue to do so until the emotional eating, bingeing and turning to food for comfort is no longer part of your life.
12 Practical steps to change emotional eating today!
- Drink a large glass of water and ask yourself am I really hungry? Decide to wait 30 minutes and ask yourself the same question again. The craving would have passed and feeling refreshed and hydrated often satisfies you.
- Remove yourself from the stressful situation. Take some deep breaths and take some time out alone to calm down.
- Take a walk or exercise. Getting outside in the fresh air even for a brisk walk if you don’t feel like running can do wonders for your mood and can change how you feel. Simple things like a short bike ride can boost your endorphins and lift your mood. A dance or fitness class that has music has positive beneficial effects to how you feel.
- Play with your pet or children or borrow one to cuddle and play with.
- Listen to music that makes you feel good.
- Have a bubble bath or pamper yourself. If you are female paint your nails, put a face pack on and occupy your hands with something to do.
- Food cravings are for only a short time span so fill that time with something to do decide that you will not multitask when eating. If you decide to eat only when you are focused and present and not when watching TV or working at a computer you will find that you put an end to unnecessary eating. You can find a cupboard to tidy or some job that needs doing until the craving or need to eat subsides.
- Go to bed earlier. A lot of my clients want to eat more late at night so I say to avoid that just go to bed and you won’t need to eat.
- Find and join a fitness class or find a fitness buddy to play tennis with or go walking with. You are more likely to succeed if you have an accountability partner or companion to keep you company and keep you committed to actually doing the new sport or activity. If anger or stress is one of your eating triggers then hitting a ball at tennis or going to the driving range and whacking some golf balls or lifting some heavy weights are great for anger and stress and will alleviate boredom eating too.
- Connect with friends or loved ones – texting, messaging, chatting. Even if you live alone you can chat to anyone of your friends quite easily via text or social media and can often be a lifesaver for those that feel lonely.
- Start a new hobby or join an evening class or hobby group. Is there something you have always wanted to do? Learn a new language for holidays, photography, learn to salsa or join a book club. There are often cheap ways to do a hobby or train for a charity race that do not need lots of cash.
- Play a game or puzzle or something that occupies your time and mind. Like Sudoku or Candy Crush.
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