Emotional eating is when one eats food to relieve stress, seek comfort or get rid of loneliness. It is different from physical hunger, where one stops eating after reaching the feeling of satiety. The food one eats; is also not healthy. It is junk and consists of sweets and fast food mostly. Rather than fixing the emotional crisis, emotional eating worsens it as the guilt of too much eating takes over. To help you with emotional eating, here are five strategies for you to try.
Remove or delay the reinforcement!
Find out the cause of your emotional eating. It might be stress, loneliness, or anxiety that is making you eat. Remove these behavioral patterns. To reduce stress, have a cup of coffee or tea or take a bath to freshen you up. If you are lonely, talk to somebody you trust or play with your dog or cat. To get rid of anxiety or boredom, you can explore the outdoors, watch comedy shows or turn to activities you enjoy. Solve this underlying problem of yours or delay its onset because eating is only temporary relief, and that too at an expense to your physical and mental health.
Avoid or narrow down the cues!
The cues that lead you to emotional eating include the foods present in your fridge, such as ice cream, chips, sweets, etc. Trash these high-fat foods or donate them. Delay your trips to the grocery and buy less and less of such foods. It is also of paramount importance that you make the availability of fast foods hard for you.
Make an incompatible response!
Whenever you feel the urge for emotional eating, show an incompatible response. It would be better if your response is something you don’t like, such as lawn mowing, cleaning the bathroom, or other such things. It increases the awareness about your problem. You also start to hate emotional eating once you push yourself to do the things you don’t like. Sometimes, even a negative practice also works. Eating foods you don’t like, to the point where you feel exhausted, can also help increase awareness and make you hate emotional eating.
Your habit will benefit by simply keeping a score. Keeping a record of the number of times you have the urge for emotional eating, their particular causes, the food, and the amount of it you eat will help you manage your problem. It is also necessary that you praise yourself every time you don’t respond to your urge. You will soon find the frequency of your bad habit going down.
Emotional eating is just a symptom of some underlying cause. Unless you solve that problem, simply moving away from food will not help you. You will get rid of this habit, but you would still be vulnerable to many others. Identify your problem and get help to solve it. Get support from your family if you have work stress. Gather support from your friends or loved ones when you feel anxious or lonely. Find people who are good listeners and listen to you in times of need. Do not hesitate to get professional help as well if the need arises. You can also include supplements in your routine to help you solve the problem