Gain control of emotional eating

Posted: Mar 01 in Post-Bariatric Diet by

You’ve probably heard the term “comfort food” used to describe the things we like to eat when we’re sad, lonely, or stressed. But did you know that a frequent reliance on food to make you feel better could be silently sabotaging your weight loss efforts?

Experts use the term emotional eating to describe turning to food to deal with emotions. Emotionally eating may occur consciously or unconsciously, but it almost always leads to overeating. In addition to eating too much, emotional eaters tend to reach for high-calorie, sweet, or fatty foods to soothe themselves, which is even more damaging to your health and waistline.

Are You an Emotional Eater?

For some people, reaching for food during times of stress or boredom has become so automatic that they aren’t even aware they’re doing it. If you find yourself struggling to lose weight, you may need to stop and assess when and why you eat in order to determine if you’re unconsciously using food as a coping mechanism.

One way to identify what motivates you to eat is to keep a food journal. Write down everything you eat during the day and make a note of how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking about at the those times. Be sure to keep an accurate list, paying special attention to any snacking you might be doing. Using a food journal, it shouldn’t take long to discover if you’re eating for reasons other than hunger.

Once you’ve identified what motivates you to eat, you can take steps to make healthier choices that can help you finally lose weight.

Here are a few tips for breaking the emotional eating cycle.5 Tips to Stop Emotional Eating

  1. Reduce your stress. While you might not be able to eliminate stressful situations from your life, it can be beneficial to find new stress management techniques if you notice yourself turning to food. Yoga, meditation, relaxation exercises, and deep breathing can be very helpful ways to deal with stress.
  2. Get a support network. People who lack a strong support network are more likely to turn to emotional eating for comfort. Make an effort to connect with friends and family. Consider joining a support group or local club to meet new people.
  3. Distract yourself. If you’re eating because you’re bored, the solution is to not let yourself get bored. Make a list of activities you enjoy. Consider reading, going for a walk, calling a friend, gardening, or taking up a new hobby.
  4. Remove temptation. Chances are, you have certain “comfort foods” that you’re most likely to turn to when you’re eating to deal with emotions. Keep these items out of your kitchen and off your grocery list. Similarly, avoid going grocery shopping if you’re feeling stressed or sad, as you’ll be more likely to pick these things up again.
  5. Consider therapy. In some cases, emotional eating is used to deal with unresolved issues that you may find difficult to work through on your own. A therapist can help you understand what motivates you to eat, help you develop new coping methods, and help you work through the emotions that are leading you to eat in the first place.

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