Fast food culture in the modern lifestyle is encouraging emotional eating in so many ways. People have come to use food as a way to deal with feelings instead of satisfying hunger. You might have seen people finishing a whole bag of chips watching an interesting program in the TV or doing something out of boredom. Some people are known for downing cookie after cookie while cramming for a big test. But most of these people do not realize that emotional eating can affect their weight, health, and overall well-being. Negative feelings normally prompt emotional eating. Millions of people, majority of them obese, often turn to food when they are stressed out, lonely, sad, anxious, or bored.
Emotional eating patterns can be a learned habit from childhood. A child, who is given a candy as a prize for some achievement, may grow up using candy as a reward for a job well done which, in turn, may turn into the habit of emotional eating.
Symptoms of emotional eating
Eating larger portions than usual, eating at unusual times, feeling a loss of control around food, being anxious over something, being obese, weight, or finding recently a big jump in weight or body mass index (BMI) may be some of the symptoms of emotional eating.
Ten tips to overcome emotional eating
1) First of all identify the drives that lead you to emotional eating.
Identify the drives that make you eat. It may be your stress or depression that makes you to eat something. It may be when you feel bored or lonely. It may be a lazy habit to crunch something while you are doing some work or watching some program.
2) Maintain a journal to watch your emotional eating
Write down the emotions that trigger eating. It is one of the best ways to keep you tracking your mood and food. Write down the condition of your mind, sad, worried or happy, and what you ate. This gives you conscious awareness and enables you to realize the emerging between what you feel and what you eat.
3) Replace your emotional eating with a positive habit
Habits can be overcome by replacing them with alternative positive habits. It may be writing in a journal or going for a walk or finding a new hobby. Sometimes calling a friend for support may alleviate the cause of your emotional eating. You have to find our sources to avoid your emotions that lead you to eat something. Listening to some feel-good tunes and let off some steam by jogging in place or dancing around your room may relieve your urge to eat. You can also focus your attention from food to other things like helping others, spending time with family, and focusing on some hobby.
4) Remove the triggers that lead you to emotional eating
Stress and loneliness makes most emotional eaters think that food can bring them some comfort. They should find other ways to relax and eliminate these triggers of emotional eating. They can switch over to some activity such as physical exercise, talking with friends, meditation, or breathing techniques.
5) Autosuggestion may boost your positive energy
Giving yourself a pep talk through some auto suggestion can help you to out of your negative world. Negative emotions such as anxiety, worry, etc. are the main reasons for emotional eating. This can be replaced with auto suggestion of positive energy.
6) Schedule your snacking habits
Snacks are the main culprits of emotional eating. Making a schedule of when and what you shall eat ahead of time can relieve you from overeating and emotional eating. Follow the schedule to prevent the urge to overeat. Three meals a day and two small snacks will be ideal.
7) Control the quality of your food
Study the types of foods you normally eat. Get rid of tempting snacks and comfort foods. Try to be away from all junk food and focus on healthier foods. Healthy portions of healthy foods can keep your appetite satisfied. Eliminating junk food will help you from modern lifestyle diseases and also build up your will power.
8) Drink water when you feel to eat out of your schedule
Drinking water is a healthy habit. Drinking water gives you a feeling of “fullness” and also gives some energy to change your mood to eat something. It can also keep you healthy’
9) Be patient and perseverant
You may not be able to overcome your habit of emotional eating just in one day. It takes some time. So be patient and perseverant in your pursuit. When you recognize what causes emotional eating and decide to take an active role in preventing it, you will be able to realize the benefits of overcoming that habit. Be sure that change takes time and therefore never get discouraged. Never allow setbacks to keep you from your ultimate goal.
10) Get expert help if necessary
Taking advantage of expert help is advisable when necessary. Nowadays counselors and therapists available everywhere who can help you deal with your feelings and nutritionists who can help you guide you eat better diet.