Tricks for Overcoming Emotional Eating

Sat, 02/08/2020 - 09:00

Who hasn’t had one of those days? Or one of those weeks? Or even one of those years. Hello 2020. Been there. Those moments when you’re feeling sad, angry, stressed, anxious, scared or all of the above because of something unsettling or troubling going on in our lives. These emotions often lead to overeating and cravings for comfort foods. The only problem is, these “comfort foods” are NOT comforting the moment after you’ve consumed them and in fact, we both know they only exacerbate your level of stress and disease.

Over eating, binge eating, stress eating etc. is destructive. Period. And it’s only going to make you feel worse, but in that moment you just want something to give you immediate gratification. Here’s how to fight those temptations!

Avoid trigger foods.

Whatever your weakness – cookies, potato chips, ice cream, cake – get in the habit of not having those foods stocked in your pantry or fridge. You can’t eat what you don’t have, right? When you go grocery shopping, steer clear of the junk food aisles and spend more time along the fringes of the store where the fresh meats and produce are. And at the drugstore, don’t even look at the candy shelves. Nothing to see there!

Have a support system.

When you’re feeling down, instead of reaching for junk food, reach for your phone and text a friend. Not the person you’re stressing about! I mean a compassionate friend or relative who can help you work through your feelings. Even better, call that friend (imagine that) for an important one-on-one connection.

Keep a journal.

Some people are better at writing down their feelings than sharing them aloud. If that’s you, that’s OK! Create a digital journal or buy an old-school notebook and jot down whatever’s on your mind. You’ll probably find it’s incredibly therapeutic and will help you sort out what’s making you reach for unhealthy temptations.

Find healthy stress relievers.

There are ways to comfort and nurture yourself that aren’t food related.  Do you have a hobby you love?  Can you indulge in self-care like a bubble bath? Can you treat yourself to a little present that is within your budget? Is there a show you just love? Consider binge watching it and allowing yourself to just chill and veg out for a few hours. It doesn’t have to be the absolute healthiest activity as long as it isn’t self-destructive.

Engage in counter intuitive behaviors

There have been many studies that show people who try to quit an unhealthy behavior have better luck by engaging in the exact opposite behavior. So for example, if you smoke or you overeat, exercising is going to make you far less likely to want to light up or eat pizza. The healthy behavior encourages you to engage in more healthy behaviors, not sabotage the efforts you’ve made.

Get Proactive

So often we get stressed and feel overwhelmed about things that haven’t even happened yet.  See if you can assess what’s worrying you and get proactive about the things you can. For example, if you’ve lost your job, can you update your resume, build a LinkedIn profile, sign up for unemployment, send out resumes etc? There are many things in life we can’t control, but taking control of the things we can helps us feel less stressed and less anxious. So while it seems overwhelming to take on, you will feel MUCH better when it’s done than you will after housing that whole box of cookies.