In a previous post, I discussed the causes of and ways to overcome emotional eating through a discussion with Marriage and Family Therapist, Yaritza Zayas and Lori Brannen-Graham, Certified Personal Trainer and Registered Holistic Nutritionist.
Below, I have taken out a section from that post to facilitate readers in finding the tips section.
If you or anyone you know struggles with emotional eating, please try the tips below.
1. Practice Mindful Eating
“Use hunger as your guide and eat until you are comfortably full. Practicing mindful eating can bring your focus and awareness to the food directly in front of you. If mindful eating becomes a habit it will become harder to revert back to emotional eating,” advises Lori.
2. Stay Hydrated
In our phone interview, Yaritza explained to me that our body signals are the same for thirst and hunger. Many times people confuse the two sensations. If you have eaten in the past hour or so, and, all of the sudden, you are very hungry, drink some water. If it satiates your desire to eat, then you were thirsty, not hungry. Staying hydrated also helps you to feel fuller longer. Most people require their weigh divided by 2 in ounces of water per day. For example, I weight 129 lbs, so I would need at least 65 oz of water a day.
3. Recognize Your Triggers
It is important to figure out what triggers your desire to eat or over-eat when you are not hungry. Once you figure out what is causing you to eat when you are not hungry, then you can begin to stop.
Lori states, “When you are in a moment of wanting to soothe yourself with food, find something else to do. Replace that habit with something new.”
4. Keep a Journal
It is good to keep a journal of your feelings and a log of your food. By keeping track of your feelings, you can begin to identify the emotions that trigger binging, explained Yaritza. Keeping a food log makes you accountable to what you are putting into your body. Keeping a journal has helped me a lot in my own battle against emotional eating.
Yaritza and Lori are very physically active women. They exercise almost every day and both commented on the importance of exercise as a tool to cope with stress, anxiety, and other emotions that lead to emotional eating. Exercise, also, releases feel good hormones into your bloodstream, which can curb negative emotions which may trigger food cravings.
6. Eat Enough
It might seem ironic to suggest that you eat more food when you are struggling with emotional eating, but I found that feelings of deprivation are a major factor in emotional eating. Make sure to eat high quality, healthy food, and keep healthy snacks around you. If you are not eating enough to sustain your body and activity level, you will definitely feel unwell, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
7. Switch Out Sweet Treats for Healthier Ones
When I find myself wanting to eat because I feel stressed or anxious, it is hard for me to find junk food in my household. I really avoid it like the plague, because I know that the momentary feeling of goodness and satisfaction will soon give way to my stomach hurting and feelings of regrets and anger towards myself.
So, instead of feeding my emotions cupcakes and cookies, all I can find in my refrigerator are carrots, hummus, and fruits and vegetables. While this does not directly solve the problem of emotional eating, it serves as a baby-step in the process.
8. Seek Professional Help
It is always a good idea to speak to a therapist or psychologist when you are an emotional eater. Therapy can provide you with a tool-kit in order to better manage your triggers.
If you have any more questions on this post or any of my previous posts, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about emotional eating and how to cope, click the links below.