How to Deal with Emotional Eating
Emotional eating usually means overeating as a response to negative emotions rather than being hungry.
This may be because food can be associated with providing some comfort when under pressure, stressed, anxious or experiencing other negative emotions – which leads some foods to be known as ‘comfort foods’.
Emotional overeating can lead to a vicious cycle – where it causes weight gain – which in turn can affect self-esteem and body image.
How to tell the difference between real hunger and emotional hunger?
Experts say emotional hunger is more likely to
- Begin quickly, needing instant satisfaction
- Involves a desire for specific foods, such as sugary or high fat food
- Continue after you are full
- Make you feel bad about what you’ve just eaten.
Stopping emotional eating
- Keeping a food diary to track what you’ve been eating alongside what was happening or going through your mind at the time can help identify what triggers emotional eating.
- Knowing what these triggers are can help you break the emotional eating habits and deal with triggers instead of turning to food.
- It can help to find pleasurable alternatives to eating and to distract yourself from the trigger feelings.
These might include:
- Read a book or magazine, listen to music
- Taking exercise, even a walk
- Have a relaxing bath
- Try deep breathing exercises or meditation
- Talk to a friend, or write a letter or email
- Get stuck into jobs around the home, like housework or gardening
- Enjoy a hobby
- Learn to enjoy non-food rewards – such as shopping away from food shops.
I hope you’ve found these tips useful, but if you need further in depth professional advice about this, then please get in touch to book an appointment today. I look forward to meeting with you soon!