Find a healthy alternative

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.

@josie_u26

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Health

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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. 

Keep a few notes — what emotions do you feel, when, and why. What do you feel like eating? 

Pick one emotion to start with

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 you’re focusing on stress, pay close attention to it. Try to notice every time it comes up. You might want some kind of visual reminder placed where you’ll see it when you get stressed (at your desk or in the car, for example, if those are places you commonly get stressed).

If the technique is going for a walk when you get stressed, then every time you notice the trigger, go for a walk, even if it’s just for 1-2 minutes. 

If you strongly want to eat, do the new coping technique instead. Breathe. You’ll get through the eating urge.

Call upon social support

Ask friends and people online to support your new change. Report to them daily and ask them to hold you accountable.

Do this technique for one emotional trigger for at least a couple weeks, if not a month. 

When you feel you have a handle on it, repeat the technique for another emotional trigger on your list.

Instead of eating, try some kind of exercise, such as pushups, walking, jogging, weights, or yoga. Try deep breathing or meditating for 2 minutes. Try massaging your shoulders. Drink water.

Some healthy ways to deal with boredom is to go for a walk. Find a comfy spot and read a novel. Find friends to play sports with or go for a hike with. Learn to garden or sew. Make tea. Write. Journal. Do yoga. Listen to music.

Did you put in a hard day’s work? Did you accomplish something great? Don't reward yourself with food. 

Instead, take a nap. Get a massage. Take a bath. Have tea. Allow yourself some down time.

Comfort – sadness, depression, loneliness

We often use food as a way to comfort ourselves. 

Find a friend or loved one to comfort you or give you a hug. Again, tea can be a good choice. Snuggle with a pet. Do yoga or meditate. Call someone. Take a walk in nature. Watch a sunset. Light scented candles and take a bath.

Often we eat as a way to socialize, or because other people we’re socializing are eating. Learn other ways to socialize instead:

Go for a hike, play sports, make healthy food with friends, play music or make art together, or have fruit instead of unhealthy foods. 

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RELATED IDEAS

You may find yourself eating in front of the television, computer, or some other distraction. Try switching off the tube or putting down your phone the next time you find yourself in this pattern.

By focusing on your food, the bites you take, and your level of hunger, you may discover that you’re eating emotionally. 

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IDEAS

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders, from binge eating to calorie counting, or feeling guilty of eating 'bad' foods can wreak havoc on our health and happiness.

The core issue lies within our emotions, and how our mind works against the goal of weight lossDiet restrictions only work with willpower which can fade, as it usually does.

Mindfulness, the act of being present and aware, can help people get out of the habit of acting on their cravings without thinking.

Mindfulness exercises are simple to learn and wonderful for promoting resilience to stress in general, so you really can't lose.

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