19 Ways To Stop Emotional Eating From Stress
Emotional hunger can be powerful to mistake it for physical hunger. But how powerless you feel over food it is possible to make a positive change.
When you're depressed or sad, do you find yourself running to the pantry? Emotional eating refers to the widespread practice of turning to food for comfort. People who emotionally eat frequently reach for food several times a day to smother and comfort unfavorable emotions. After eating this way, they could even experience guilt or shame, which can start a cycle of overeating and related problems like weight gain.
What causes someone to eat because of their emotions?
The underlying cause of your emotional eating disorder could be anything, including relationship difficulties, health problems, and financial stress. It is a problem that both sexes must deal with. However, other research indicates that women are more likely to eat emotionally than men.
Why emotional eating?
An emotional void or sense of emptiness may result from negative feelings. Food is believed to be a technique to either restore one's sense of “wholeness” or to temporarily fill that emptiness.
Other factors include:
- Avoiding social interaction when you need it most
- Not doing things that would otherwise help reduce tension, depression, etc.
- Unable to distinguish between emotional and bodily hunger
- Using self-defeating thoughts connected to bingeing episodes. As a result, an emotional eating cycle may develop.
- Stress causes a change in cortisol levels that causes cravings.
How to stop emotional eating?
When we're anxious and unhappy, we eat. When we are joyful and celebrating, we eat. And occasionally (frequently), we eat only out of boredom. According to psychologists, boredom is likely the most common emotional manifestation of hunger. However, the distinction between genuine physical hunger and emotional hunger must be made. Physical hunger comes on gradually and is related to when you last ate. While factors like stress, worry, or weariness cause emotional eating.
Find other ways to cope with stress
The first step toward overcoming emotional eating is frequently learning a different method to handle unpleasant emotions. This could entail finding some time to unwind and unwind from the day in some other way, such as writing in a journal or reading a book. It takes time to change your thinking from grabbing food to using alternative stress-relieving techniques, so try out different things to see what works for you.
Some foods are known as "comfort food" because they bring back pleasant memories and reduce stress. Healthy eating practices, however, depend on being able to distinguish between occasional indulgences and emotional eating, which is when we eat to improve our mood. Fortunately, there are steps you may do to resume your healthy eating routine. Here are some pointers and ideas.
1. Use a food journal
To keep track of the meals you consume throughout the day and to be aware of what you're feeding your body, journal your meals. It is crucial to be truthful about your diet (and how much). Even better, record your feelings before meals or snacks so you have more information about how you feel about food. It may be helpful to identify triggers that cause emotional eating if you keep a journal of what you eat and when. Although it can be difficult, try to keep track of everything you consume, no matter how much or how little, as well as the feelings you're experiencing at the time. Additionally, keeping a food diary can be a helpful resource to share with your doctor if you decide to get treatment for your eating habits.
2. Work Up a Sweat
An essential component of a healthy lifestyle is exercise. The next time you want to mindlessly nibble, consider taking a quick stroll since it can also work as a useful diversion from cravings. Exercise regularly can provide relief for some people. In especially emotional times, a fast yoga session or a short walk or jog around the block may be beneficial. A good workout causes your body to produce endorphins, which work with your brain to relax and calm you. Furthermore, it will boost your self-esteem.
Concerned about your body's deterioration? Try tai chi or yoga. Both of them are low-impact exercises that will make you sweat. In one study, participants were asked to practice yoga for eight weeks. They were then graded on their awareness and perceptive understanding, or more simply, how well they understood themselves and the circumstances around them. The findings suggested that practicing yoga regularly would be a helpful prophylactic technique to help lessen negative emotional states like anxiety and despair.
3. Consider your hunger
Do you need food, or are you merely craving it? Is your tummy growling? Intuitive eating refers to the process of learning to eat more by your body's actual demands rather than those that you want out of boredom or anxiety. This is a fantastic opportunity to practice how you view food and what it does to your body. Foods that you frequently seek in times of conflict that are in your cabinets might be trashed or donated. Think about foods high in fat, sugar, or calories, such as chips, chocolate, and ice cream. Additionally, avoid going to the grocery store when you're irritated. By allowing you to reflect before eating, keeping the foods you crave away when you're feeling emotional may help stop the cycle.
4. Eliminate mindless eating
Avoid other distractions when eating, such as the TV or your smartphone. The next time you catch yourself in this habit, try turning off the television or putting down your phone. This enables you to focus entirely on your food and how it makes you feel while you consume it. You'll be able to stop eating once you're satisfied since you'll be aware of when you're beginning to feel full. You could find that you're eating emotionally if you pay attention to your meal, the bits you take, and your level of hunger. Some people even find it beneficial to concentrate on chewing their food 10 to 30 times before swallowing a bite. These actions offer your mind and stomach some time to catch up.
5. Pay attention to volume
Refrain from grabbing an entire bag of chips or other snacks. To help with portion control, mindful eaters should work on acquiring the habits of measuring out servings and using small plates. Give yourself some time after finishing the first helping before returning for another. In the interim, you might even want to try another stress-relieving method, like deep breathing.
6. Find an accountability partner
Developing healthy eating habits can be a lot of fun if you have a partner or someone who’s on the same journey. You can plan meals together, swap delicious recipes, and hold one another accountable.
7. Don’t overthink
Making healthy decisions is far more difficult when you concentrate on dieting, calorie monitoring, or restricting yourself to the things that are deemed to be "bad." You feel overloaded and agitated, which makes eating less enjoyable. Allow yourself to occasionally indulge in your favorite meals without feeling guilty. You'll be one step closer to controlling your emotional eating if you indulge guilt-free and with awareness.
8. Explore other foods and snacks
Try to choose a different, healthier option the next time you go grocery shopping if you always grab cookies when you're depressed or chips when you're bored. This can assist in reducing your emotional attachment to some of your go-to snacks, and you could find new favorites as a result.
9. Celebrate small victories
You shouldn't feel hopeless about developing healthy eating habits because you perceive it as being too difficult. Just proceed incrementally. Be proud of yourself for putting in the effort it takes to form new habits as you learn how to regulate your cravings and emotional eating.
10. Our Ties to Food Are Strong
For us to live, we must eat. But as time went on, we began to enjoy the foods we ate. Eating can help reduce stress and make people feel better. But the binge-guilt-binge cycle that can follow gets in the way of our efforts to eat healthily.
11. Know What's Happening
When they're under stress, some people eat less. When things aren't going their way, some people seek the comfort of comfort food or the filling of fattening snacks. You can find yourself eating when you're not hungry or without even realizing it because the effect is just fleeting. That might cause unwise choices to be made. Be mindful of what you eat and why you eat it at all times.
12. Focus on Your Goals
Don't obsess over details like calorie counting, food planning, and scale monitoring. It can cause you to lose sight of the lifestyle adjustments you want to make. Having a food rut can increase desire. Try new meals and alternative preparation methods for your old favorites without being intimidated. If you accomplish a significant objective, make sure to treat yourself to a healthy treat.
13. Don't Tempt Yourself
By keeping unhealthy foods away from your home, you can eliminate the need to nibble on them. Concerned that your shopping decisions may be poor? Never go to the grocery store when you're hungry or in a bad mood. Follow a strict grocery list of healthy foods.
14. Make Healthy Choices
It's also essential to make sure your body receives adequate nutrition to fuel it. It might be challenging to tell the difference between real hunger and emotional hunger. It might be simpler to recognize when you're eating out of boredom, unhappiness, or stress if you eat healthily throughout the day. If you are hungry in between meals, keep a large supply of healthy nibbles on hand. Have problems now? Consider choosing nutritious snacks instead, such as fruit, veggies with a low-fat dip, almonds, or even unbuttered popcorn, which are all excellent choices. Alternatively, experiment with low-fat versions of your favorite foods.
15. Don't Be So Hard on Yourself
Don't dwell on your mistakes. Learn from your errors instead. Don't let a single error or a few errors add to your stress. Consider the big picture instead, and figure out how to stop the stress-eating cycle.
16. Make Substitutes
Try topping pita bread with tomato sauce, vegetables, and part-skim mozzarella if you're wanting pizza. Truly craving tacos? Instead, combine beans, tomatoes, cheese, and hot sauce to create a taco salad. Try "fun size" versions of the genuine thing or little ice cream bars as an alternative if you have a sweet taste. Your diet won't suffer, and you'll still enjoy your favorite meals.
Try some relaxation methods when the need to eat strikes. Stress reduction and impulsive control are two benefits of mindful meditation. Pick a peaceful area to sit in and pay attention to your breathing and thoughts. Don't criticize your feelings. Simply take note of your thoughts before returning your attention to breathing. Numerous research back up the use of mindfulness meditation as a treatment for emotional and emotional eating disorders. You may practice meditation practically anyplace by just taking deep breaths. Focus on your breath as it slowly flows in and out of your nostrils while sitting quietly.
18. Work on positive self-talk
Emotional eating is linked to feelings of guilt and shame. Work on the self-talk you experience after an episode if you don't want to start a vicious cycle of emotional eating disorder. Instead of getting upset, try to learn from your failure. Make use of the chance to make plans. And remember to treat yourself to self-care activities like taking a bath, going for a leisurely walk, etc. when you achieve milestones.
19. Talk It Out
Although it's challenging, try to see your emotional eating as a chance to better understand yourself and your emotions. Taking the process day by day will eventually result in a greater awareness of who you are and the emergence of healthier eating practices. Emotional eating can trigger emotional eating disorders or other eating disorders if it is not treated. If you believe that your eating habits are beyond your control, it's crucial to visit your doctor. In times of melancholy or anxiety, avoid isolation. Even a quick phone call to a friend or family member can do wonders for your mood.
Formal support groups are another resource. Do not be reluctant to talk about your eating habits with your physician or a mental health specialist. They might be able to offer you counseling and advice to help you figure out what's making you stressed. Additionally, they can provide you with tips on how to attain your health objectives and make healthier eating choices.
Beyond these tips, it bears repeating. In the short run, addressing the feelings that led to hunger is more important than initially numbing emotions with food. Try adopting mindful eating habits as well as other stress-reduction techniques, such as exercise and peer support. A mindful approach to eating can be helpful, but before you can put it into practice, you should become aware of how you feel right before you eat.