Do you struggle with emotional eating??
Disclaimer, this post is not for people who believe they may have an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia etc. If you feel this might be you, please reach out and I can connect you with a licensed professional who can help you ASAP.
Emotional eating can be described as the act of overeating during times of anxiety, stress, depression, boredom or anger among other negative emotions.
I once suffered from this too, until I was about 30 years old. Millions and millions of people do or will experience this in their lifetime as well. It is something that you CAN overcome. Will it be easy? I won’t lie, it isn’t. The number one thing I believe you can do for yourself when you have what you might think of as a “failure” is to STOP that negative talk right away. You didn’t mess up, there is no reason to quit or throw in the towel. Let those so called mistakes be stepping stones for you on your way to conquering emotional or mindless eating.
We live in a society that for most of us, has an over abundance of food and our brains are constantly being tantalized by foods that provide little to no nutritional value. Couple that with really hard times or just anxiety, sadness or stress in general and you have the perfect ingredients for emotional (over) eating. I already said you first need to stop with the negative talk about what you might consider failures but you also must become more aware of your emotions and how they are fueling your actions. Maybe this is something you can do yourself or maybe you might need some help from a professional. Nothing wrong with either of those.
Does stress send you running for foods that excite your palate or to calm those nerves? What is something that you want to envision yourself doing in the future to help quiet those stressful feelings? Really, I want you to think of the actions your future self might take, then I want you to take those visions to life by practicing them when that stress arises. Maybe it’s deep breathing somewhere quiet, going for a walk, calling or texting a friend, stretching, journaling, coloring or drawing. Or like I already said, seeing a professional to help you. A body scan is another thing you can do. Where are you feeling this stress? Can you imagine relaxing that area and then the rest of your body? I know this isn’t the magic pill most of you were hoping for. This stuff takes perseverance and self discipline.
Feelings of anger or sadness that drive you to food can be diverted with these same tactics I listed above.
One thing I do want to address is the fact that life is meant to be enjoyed and food is part of enjoying life. Eating your favorite things to indulge your cravings here and there is completely different from emotional eating. I want the lines between the two, clear and decisive so that you are able to power yourself with the knowledge of what you need in every situation you find yourself in.
Getting enough sleep, water and daily movement are also important factors in managing your cues that send you snacking or to your favorite drive thru. Making sure you eat more nutrient dense foods at each meal will also help you manage your hunger. Most adults need about 20-30 grams of protein and 30-50 grams of carbohydrates at each meal. Adding in 5-10 grams of fiber would help as well with diverting those hunger pains.
Lastly, really being mindful and present when you are eating. Noticing your hunger cues AND your fullness cues. How about eating until you feel satisfied? That is a feeling a lot of us ignore and tend to just gorge ourselves. Eating in front of a screen will hinder your ability to notice these feelings, as well as eating too quickly. I know I am very guilty of those last few!
In conclusion adding all these ideas together from the first to the last, as well as more movement or exercise most days of the week will set you up for a better quality of life that can be pain free, less stressful and free from emotional eating and a better more well rounded individual--YOU!
Comments or concerns? Please leave them below.
I am glad you are here. My name is Susan and here you can learn all the things about fitness, health and things inbetween!