How to Manage your Emotional Eating to Help Manage Your Weight
We all do it. Even if you’re slim as a rake, if you spot a favourite food after not having it for a while, you can get excited about the flavour you’ve missed and scarf it down before anyone knows its there.
That’s just one example of emotional eating. And we could fill lots of blog posts with other examples. Having a bad day at work, or a good one; relationship problems and relationship success; a sad movie and the most uplifting film ever; all can lead to emotional eating.
It’s the sheer number of triggers, and their variety that can make emotional eating the enemy of even the most determined healthy eating and weight loss plans. Why? Because emotional eating usually means mindlessly consuming foods that aren’t the healthiest.
When you eat to comfort yourself, or to reward yourself, you usually don’t think about the health and nutrition of what you’re eating. Got a raise? Let’s go out and celebrate. The kids been at you all day? They’re in bed now, let’s crack that bag of chips.
If you want to stop emotional eating from ruining your otherwise balanced diet, being aware of your eating is your first step.
1. Be Aware of What Makes You Eat
When you’re planning your balanced breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, you don’t have to worry about what’s making you eat – you know you must eat healthily and regularly.
But your emotional eating is usually unplanned. So, the first step it is to spot those emotions that cause it. And they can come from almost anywhere.
Not just emotional stress, but physical stress too. If you’ve spent your entire Saturday cleaning the house from top to bottom, you’ll be tired, your defences will be down and you’ll look to food as a reward, just as you look to it for comfort when you’re upset.
What’s the easiest thing to do when you don’t know what to do with yourself?
Sometimes even childhood habits can prompt your adult emotional eating. If you were rewarded with a tasty treat for being good, you’re more inclined to do the same now.
2. Be Aware of What You Eat
One of the main reasons that emotional eating is a problem is because it usually involves packaged and processed foods. Exactly the sorts of foods you’re trying to avoid because they are high in sugar, salt and empty calories.
If you can’t bring yourself to completely avoid emotional eating, at least substitute healthier choices for the foods that are not so good for you. There’s a whole world of delicious, healthy snacks, like carrots and hummus, raspberries and plain yogurt, and just about any nut and legume you can find, that can make you quickly forget the cheesies.
3. Be Aware of How You Eat
Have you ever reached the bottom of the chip bag and wondered where they went? It’s yet another reason emotional eating is unhealthy. Unlike your dinner, where you use portion control, your emotional eating usually has no limits, until you hit the bottom of the bag. That makes it very easy to overeat.
Emotional eating can be a very complex issue and is sometimes difficult to control, even if you try the tips listed above. Don’t be afraid to get the help you need to overcome the problem. Call or visit your nearest Herbal One Centre and speak to a nutritional specialist who knows how to help you manage your emotional eating.