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