Food is fuel to our body; but when one eats to satisfy one's emotional needs, it becomes a problem. Emotional eating is a vicious cycle, which if not controlled can lead to severe problems.
What is Emotional Eating?
Unlike eating to satisfy our hunger pangs, emotional eating happens when one is stressed out, anxious, angry or lonely. These negative emotions create a vacuum, and one eats to fill it.
When we are hungry, any food feels appealing. However, with emotional hunger, we crave for comfort foods, especially junk and sugary foods.
Usually, normal hunger builds up gradually, while when it comes to emotional eating, the craving can be sudden.
While eating satisfies us, emotional eating does not cure the negative emotions that triggered it. Usually, one feels guilty for the same. Moreover, eating high-calorie foods also leads to unwanted weight gain and other health problems.
Ways to Stop Emotional Eating
Getting out the cycle of emotional eating can seem difficult; however, it is not impossible. With conscious efforts, it can be controlled.
Keeping a track of the food that you eat everyday is a good way to start working on your emotional eating. You also need to write about the feelings or emotions that you felt before and after eating the food. This will help you to find patterns and triggers and keep them in control.
Begin a Food Journal
Eating mindfully would make you aware what you are eating and how much you are eating. It would also help you to stop eating when you are full. So, get rid of distractions like mobile phone, TV, etc. while eating and concentrate on your food completely.
Practice Mindful Eating
Stress is common in everyday life. Instead of caving into your food cravings, adapt a different technique to cope with stress. This could be writing a journal, painting, going for a walk or a run, reading a book, cooking or gardening.
Adapt a Coping Mechanism
Adopt Stress Management Techniques
Emotional eating is usually caused by stress, and it is best to learn long-term stress management techniques to control your stress and prevent emotional eating. These stress-management techniques can be exercising, yoga and meditation.
If you are an emotional eater, it would be best to get rid of temptations from your pantry. Do not stock up on things like ice cream, chocolates, biscuits, sweets, etc. Also, do not go shopping for groceries when you are stressed or anxious.
Get Rid of Temptations
Always follow a balanced diet, where you nourish your body with the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. However, a healthy diet does not mean, you have to stay away from your favorite foods. Indulge in foods you love by following portion control.
Have a Balanced Diet
Be Easy on Yourself
When you are trying to stop yourself from emotional eating, there are bound to be setbacks. However, being too hard on yourself will not work in the end. If this happens, forgive yourself and start fresh the next day.
If nothing seems to work and you continue to indulge in your cravings every time you feel stressed or anxious, it is time to seek help. A professional would help you with strategies to get rid of emotional eating.