Emotional eating is an eating disorder, and the first step in preventing emotional eating is to recognize it.
Do you eat when you feel strong emotions? If yes, what emotions trigger you to eat? Examples of emotions that can trigger eating are sadness, disappointment, loneliness, boredom etc. Once you have identified these emotions, write them down somewhere. Next time you have the urge to eat even though you are not hungry check this list to see if you are feeling any of those emotions. If you do, then you know you are dealing with the emotional eating disorder, and recognizing it will help you to prevent it.
Identify the time of day when you find yourself wanting to eat for emotional reasons. For many people it is late at night. If you know you usually get emotional eating cravings at a certain time of day, you can prevent it by keeping yourself busy at that time.
Identify if there are certain activities that make you want to eat for emotional reasons. For example, if one has a strained relationship with their ex-husband, they may feel like eating after they pick the kids up after a weekend at the ex’s house.
Identify if emotional eating happens mostly when you are alone or when you are with other people. For most people, emotional eating strikes when they are alone. You can prevent it by making sure there are no unhealthy foods at your home.
Identify if any of your behaviors accompany emotional eating. For example, for some people, emotional eating is accompanied by crying. If you know which behavior triggers emotional eating, just being aware of it will enable you to make the right choice when you do feel like eating right after participating in that behavior.
All the tips in the following article also apply to preventing emotional eating: