Emotional eating can get the best of us. We’ve all been there…
It starts with the grapes, then the chips, and moments later, you’re immersed in the pantry scavenging for something greasy, crunchy, salty, creamy, or sweet, and emotionally fulfilling. The problem is, these foods aren’t really fulfilling to our health. Binge-eating can be our temporary escape, however, multiple occurrences of emotional eating can lead to unnecessary and rapid weight gain. I’m here to share my top 3 tools to eliminate emotional eating!
1. Learn to accept your emotions.
It’s okay to feel many emotions, including sadness, happiness, stress, anger, and exhaustion. Learning to accept your feelings is the first step to combatting emotional eating. Binge-eating is only a temporary fix to numb your emotions. By listening to your emotions and finding new strategies to satisfy your feelings, you can eliminate the desire to run to food during a rough patch in your life.
When you’re feeling emotional head to the park with your dog, sign up for a yoga/meditation class, or take up a new hobby. Journaling is another great tool to get your emotions out on paper rather than in the pantry!
2. Only eat when you are hungry!
This will take some level of self-control, but with a little dedication, this important step will completely eliminate emotional eating altogether! When you’re hungry, make sure to stop eating when you are satisfied, rather than stopping when you are over-satisfied.
Conversely, never go grocery shopping when you are hungry which will help you resist the urge to bring unhealthy emotional snacks home, to begin with! Often when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty, so drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes.
Rather than looking for food when you’re bored, call a friend or read a good book. Put a post-it reminder on your pantry door and refrigerator if you struggle with remembering your goals. A reminder such as “Only eat when you are truly hungry” can really help to ensure you maintain positive eating habits!
This brings us to our next tool to eliminate emotional eating!
3. Schedule time after work to decompress.
Keep your calendar handy and ensure you schedule at least an hour a day after work to decompress and enjoy time to yourself for relaxation, self-care, and your hobbies. In my Mercer Island, Washington office I have set “Alexa” to verbally command me to “Stop working, step away from your desk!” every weekday at 5 PM because I was getting so in the zone I would forget to eat until very, very late at night. Then I would suddenly get hit with the realization of how hungry I had let myself get and feed on anything available and instantly ready to eat in my kitchen to stop my hunger pangs in the pit of my stomach and stop shaking. Even now, when I have late evening meetings after dinner it tends to wreck my rhythm and I start snacking and feeling too wound up to get to sleep until past my normal healthy bedtime.
Maintaining your relationship with friends will also keep you busy, and provide you with an outlet to seek advice or a simple listening ear. Staying busy and taking care of yourself will ensure that instead of spending your time being bored, you are stimulating your mind and soul with things that are emotionally appealing! Try out a new fitness or meditation class on YouTube, sign up for classes at your local yoga studio, learn a new hobby, paint abstract works of art on canvas, or go for a hike in nature! Find your deep-rooted fix to combat the emotions you are feeling, eliminate binge eating and unhealthy weight gain, and feel better all around!