Emotional Eating: Why It Happens and How to Stop It
Resist grabbing a whole bag of chips or other food to snack on. Measuring out portions and choosing small plates to help with portion control are mindful eating habits to work on developing.
Once you’ve finished one helping, give yourself time before going back for a second.
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Accepting that it is ok to make mistakes makes us patient and kind towards ourselves, and keeps us on track with our diet goals, as we understand that our urges to overeat are part of the process.
Instead of obsessing over the 'diet' mentality, it is better to focus on your behavioral changes and new habits, incorporating certain activities in your routine. The focus should be on a healthy and holistic lifestyle.
Eating can be an emotional activity, with deep connections on how our brains and bodies work. Emotional overeaters are:
Overeaters tend to have an 'all-or-nothing' approach oscillating between an all-good diet or an outright unhealthy one, depending on the particular underlying emotion.
Pay attention to your emotions as you start to think about eating (you might feel hungry, or have a craving to eat something). Notice your emotions as you eat, and after as well.
Start with the emotional trigger that occurs most frequently. So if you only have social eating triggers once or twice a week, but you have stress or comfort triggers multiple times a day, choose the latter.
If the need is a way to cope with stress, you need to find some healthy way of doing that other than eating. If you don’t, then the need will become so strong that you’ll cave and eat.
Emotional eating is sometimes called "mindless eating" because we often don't think about what we're doing and let our unconscious habits or drives take over.
When you’re under stress, your body is likely producing higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that tends to make people crave sweet and salty food—the stuff that’s generally not good for us.
Create a simple stress management plan, or find stress relievers that fit with your specific situation.
Many people use food to deal with uncomfortable emotions like anger, frustration, and fear. There are healthier ways to cope with emotions: