Whether you're fighting the urge to resist an intense food craving or making a beeline for the kitchen, resisting emotional eating can be tough. The real problem is not the food in our fridges but rather the negative emotions and stresses that plague our mind. Emotional eating can make it difficult for you to reach your weight loss goals and live a healthier life. When facing a difficult problem, there are steps you can take to regain control of your eating habits.
At Creekside Family Practice in Cypress, TX, Hammad Qureshi, MD, specializes in family medicine and is dedicated to keeping your mind and body healthy.
What is emotional eating?
Using food as an occasional pick-me-up can provide a natural stress reliever. However, you shouldn't use sugary snacks or junk food regularly as an emotional coping mechanism. Whenever you feel the urge to reach for the refrigerator door, consider how overeating in moments of distress perpetuates an unhealthy cycle. Don't let emotions like stress or anger get in the way of making a positive change.
Some factors that trigger emotional eating may include
- Stress at work
- Existing health issues
- Relationship problems
- Financial difficulties
Learning how to soothe negative emotions properly can help break the cycle of eating to satisfy your emotions rather than your physical hunger. Taking specific measures to control these impulses ultimately leads to a healthier lifestyle. These measures help you adequately deal with your emotions by resolving those feelings that trigger overeating,
Tips to avoid emotional eating
During the holidays, food temptation is everywhere. It is also a hectic and stressful time for people who run around buying gifts or traveling out of town to visit friends and family. Here are some tips for curbing your appetite before reaching the next binge-eating season.
Find alternative ways to feed your feelings
It may seem as if sticking to a diet offers the right solution to curb emotional eating. The restrictive nature of diets often makes it difficult for people who do not have conscious control over their eating habits. To stop emotional eating, you have to find alternatives to achieving emotional fulfillment. When emotions take over the nutritional process, an immediate payoff with food is not the right answer for several reasons.
You might remedy feelings of depression or loneliness by calling a close friend or relative. Easing anxious feelings with a stress ball or taking a hot bath is a better alternative to giving into feelings. When the urge to eat strikes suddenly, take five minutes before giving in to your craving. Taking a second to realize what you're doing can allow you to make a better choice.
Learn to accept yourself and your feelings
Emotional eating stems from feeling like you're not in complete control over your own life. Avoiding these feelings will cause you to turn to food for comfort. Dealing with your emotions may be frightening, and suppressing your feelings won't prevent you from overeating. Being mindful about your habits and learning how to adequately handle stress through acceptance of what you're feeling will help you combat emotional eating.
Savor your food instead of overeating
Eating to bring you temporary peace of mind is often done quickly and mindlessly. Sometimes this causes you to misread your stomach's cues that you're full and don't feel hungry. Taking slower bites and indulging in every savory flavor allows you to enjoy your food in more appropriate portions. Focus on the experience of eating, put down your fork or spoon in between bites, and pay attention to the way each meal makes you feel.
If you're struggling to curb emotional eating habits, call our office or book an appointment today for help with losing weight and controlling your eating habits.