For you to stop emotional eating you need to know what triggers it. People eat for various reasons. Know what circumstances, feelings or places that activate the emotional hunger.
Emotional eating is mostly triggered by negative feelings and at times by positive emotions, like rewarding yourself for achievement.
• Stress- most people tend to eat when stressed and there is a good reason for it. When stress is chronic, high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, are released. The cortisol gives you cravings for salty, sugary, and fatty foods–foods that will raise your energy and pleasure levels.
• Boredom- This happens when you are idle and don’t have anything to do. You may eat to overcome the boredom. You feel empty and unfulfilled so you eat to kill the boredom and get that feeling of fulfillment.
• Childhood habits- You may remember childhood memories about food. Some parents use snacks to reward children for doing good things, perhaps your parents rewarded you with chocolate every time you got good grades. You may pick up the habit from childhood.
• Social influences- having dinner with friends is a great way to socialize and have fun, but it can lead to overeating at times. It will be easy for you to overeat when your friends overeat too or you will overeat to calm your nerves. If family members or friends encourage you to overeat, it’s easy to do it.
• Stuffing emotions- eating can be a way of silencing unfavorable emotions you might have, such as– temper, pity, solitude, despair, etc.
By focusing on eating you get to temporarily forget those emotions.
One easy way of doing this is by keeping an eating dairy and a mood diary. Every time you realize you have eaten unhealthy foods, write it down. Later look back on what emotions cause you to eat.
As time goes by you will be able to identify habits or emotions that make you overeat. Once you know what triggers your emotional eating you can start working on how to stop it and find healthier eating ways.
1. Find other ways to feed your feelings
If you are not able to find another way of dealing with your emotions without involving food, then it will be nearly impossible to stop this habit.
Among the reasons diets stop working is because they use sensible nourishment guidance assuming that the only thing maintaining you from consuming right is the absence of understanding.
This kind of advice works only if you can control your eating habits. Identifying your triggers and understanding your cycle is not enough to curb emotional eating– you need to find other ways of dealing with your emotions.
2. Pause when cravings come
This may not be as easy as it sounds because when the urge for the food hits, it is all you may think about. You feel the need to eat right there and then.
Take at least 5 minutes before you give in to the craving, this gives you time to think about the poor decision you are about to make. Within that period you can change your mind and make a better choice.
If 5 minutes is a lot for you, start with 2 minutes and increase the time as you get better with it.
3. Learn to accept good and bad feelings
Emotional eating comes from not being able to deal with your feelings on the head. Find a friend or a professional who you can talk about issues and problems that you have. Being able to accept bad and good feelings without involving food will help you make progress.
4. Engage in healthy lifestyle habits
Exercise, rest and enough sleep will make it easy for you to deal with any problem that you may encounter whether emotional or physical. Create time for a 30 minutes exercise at least 5 days a week, relax and get sleep of 7 to 8 hours every day.
It is also important to surround yourself with positive people who will uplift you and help you deal with your problems.
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