How to Stop Emotional Eating

How to Stop Emotional Eating

Are you an emotional eater? Emotional eating can play a huge factor in your health; it can lead to weight gain, heart disease, increased stressed, and a number of other health problems associated with a cycle of unhealthy eating. 

If most of your answers to the following questions are "yes," then you might be an emotional eater.

  • Do you eat unintended types and amounts of food when you’re feeling stressed?
  • Do you eat when you’re not hungry or even full?
  • Do you eat to feel better?
  • Do you reward yourself with food?
  • Do you regularly eat until you have stuffed yourself?
  • Does food make you feel safe? 
  • Do you feel like food is a friend?
  • Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?
  • Do you plan your outings around food? 

Food can be a friend or foe and becoming objective and methodical about your food choices is more important than anything when it comes to your relationship with food. It is not uncommon for those who have an inappropriate relationship with food to have a great deal of skill at juggling other areas of their lives. However, when it comes to food, excuses and turmoil tend to prevail. 

Learning new skills takes practice and time. Perfection is rare but good habits lead to improved blood sugars and improved energy levels. 

Step 1: identify the problem that needs to be addressed. 

Step 2: plan a simple approach to address the problem.

Step 3: is your plan feasible?

Step 4: practice the approach.

Step 5: change your approach if it doesn't work. 

Step 6: keep records of this lifestyle change. 

Most people don't have enough time to get home and prepare a healthy meal, so instead, they stop for fast food. The purchase of a large regular soda with cheeseburger and fries is the common to-go meal. That means they end up eating a meal that's high in sodium, high in fat, high in calories and low in fiber. It's rushed, mindless eating that's terrible for your body.

What are some easy, feasible ways to approach this problem?

  1. Enjoy a chili and salad.
  2. Try a side salad instead of fries, no dressing.
  3. Try water instead of soda.
  4. Eat at the restaurant.

How can you get started?

  1. Start with a small change. Try the hamburger and side salad with a diet drink.
  2. Tomorrow, get the same with water instead of a soda.
  3. The next day, try chili, side salad, and water.
  4. Every day, sit down and eat.

Keep a journal!

Did your first attempts work? If not, change your approach.

Keep notes about what worked and what didn’t and why. 

Consider asking others what they see in your habits that might be changed to help your health. An outside view can lend to great perspective!

Even if the journal is a note on a napkin, the simple task of writing things down sends thoughts about the meal into a different section of the brain. This brings about more serious thought and can help you address positive and negative behaviors more rationally. 

These simple steps can be applied every time you eat, which usually turns into emotional chaos. The simplicity of adding method to every bite you eat can be extremely helpful in stopping the whirlwind of emotional eating. 

Be methodical, be thoughtful. Take responsibility!

Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator

Comment by chipsmom
September 08, 2014
I have found that my cravings for junk food have diminished with the use of the Nutribullet. I love that. I blast 2-3 times per day.
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