How To Control Emotional Eating

Apr 28, 2014

Are you an emotional eater?  We've all been guilty of it at one point or another!  Using food for non-physical reasons becomes a problem when you do it as a way to cope with stress or negative emotions.  Here are 3 primary reasons why you emotionally eat:

1.  You eat mindlessly and impulsively, without thinking first.  For example, someone brought junk food or sweets in the house and they're sitting on the counter, staring at you, so you just start eating it whether you're hungry or not!  Best thing to do? DON'T keep junk food in the house!
2.  You eat for reasons other than your physiological needs.  You eat because you are at a party and it's right there where you are socializing.  You eat because you are watching a movie and everyone eats popcorn while watching a movie.  You eat birthday cake because that's just what you do at a birthday party.

3.  You hold beliefs about food that don't advance you towards your goals. You don't believe that sugar is addictive or that cutting sugar out of your diet is going to help you lose weight.  You don't believe that hunger can be mistaken for thirst or that eating 5-6 small meals a day is going to help you lose weight.

So the first steps to combating this issue is becoming aware of when and why you eat!!!

I want you to read through this list of reasons why people eat other than hunger and put a check mark by the ones that apply to you:

1.  To alleviate boredom
2.  To socialize
3.  To recapture a feeling or memory
4.  To celebrate a special occasion
5.  To fill a void or missing need
6.  To feel good
7.  To feel safe
8.  To feel comforted
9.  As a reward
10. Out of habit or ritual (i.e. bedtime snacking in front of the TV).

So every time you start to feel yourself saying, I deserve this!  Stop yourself and really question if it is worth it!  You are working so hard not to get the results that you DESERVE and TRULY want!  Think about whether or not that cake, popcorn or beer is going to be the long term solution.  Or is it just a band-aid to your bad day!  I want you to list things that you can do instead of eating.  It's all about changing the way you think!  Making a lifestyle change is not about a fad diet or starving yourself.  It's about re thinking the way you live and think about food!  It's when you can make changes deep down to the core of your being that you can live like this forever!  It starts with AWARENESS

How to tell the difference between Physical and Emotional Hunger:
  • Physical hunger builds up gradually, starting with a tiny grumble in the stomach, growing to full blown hunger pangs.  Emotional hunger develops suddenly.
  • With physical hunger you can wait to have it.  Emotional hunger seems to demand immediate satisfaction.
  • Physical hunger usually appears about 3 hours after the last meal or snack.  Emotional hunger can happen at any time.
  • Physical hunger is usually a general desire for food.  Emotional hunger is usually a desire for a specific food.
  • After eating for physical hunger, the hunger goes away.  After emotional eating the hunger persists.
  • After eating for physical hunger, you get a sense of satisfaction.  After eating for emotional reasons, you feel guilty!

If you are hungry then drink a big glass of water.  Quite often hunger is disguised as thirst.  Wait 20 minutes and if you are still hungry then ask yourself.  "Has it been 2 1/2 to 3 hrs since I ate last?"  If it has then go ahead and have a small meal.  If it hasn't been that long reach for some fresh veggies! 

Try keeping your mind busy, go outside, play with the kids, take a walk, read a book or call a friend!  Keep you mind out of the kitchen and on other more important tasks!

When you do eat, eat slowly and take your time.  You want to eat until you are 80% full.  How are you going to know when that is if you gobble it down before you stomach even realizes that food is coming its way! 

Make the choice today to end emotional eating!  Join a group for support like mine and together we can work through emotional eating, what to eat and how much food to eat!  You are not alone in this battle and it doesn't matter how little or much weight you have to lose it can be done!!!

What do you choose?  Are you going to live your life in guilt over everything you eat or are you going to feel confident in your decisions about food and ultimately the way you look in the mirror?