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Mindful Diet: Dealing with Emotional Eating Issues : zen habits

Stress

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.

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Mindful Diet: Dealing with Emotional Eating Issues : zen habits

Mindful Diet: Dealing with Emotional Eating Issues : zen habits

https://zenhabits.net/emotional-eating-issues/

zenhabits.net

12

Key Ideas

Start a list of the emotions

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.

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.

Pay close attention

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).

Use your new coping technique

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.

Repeat

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.

Stress

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.

Boredom

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.

Reward

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.

Social

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. 

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Why food

Negative emotions may lead to a feeling of emptiness or an emotional void. 

Food is believed to be a way to fill that void and create a false feeling of “

Emotional vs. true hunger

Physical hunger

  • It develops slowly over time.
  • You desire a variety of food groups.
  • You feel the sensation of fullness and take it as a cue to stop eating.
  • You have no negative feelings about eating.

Emotional hunger

  • It comes about suddenly or abruptly.
  • You crave only certain foods.
  • You may binge on food and not feel a sensation of fullness.
  • You feel guilt or shame about eating.
Emotional hunger isn’t easily quelled

While filling up could work in the moment, eating because of negative emotions often leaves people feeling more upset than before.

This cycle typically doesn’t end until a person addresses emotional needs head-on.

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Eating Disorders
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 ...

Eating to Relieve Emotional Discomfort

Eating can be an emotional activity, with deep connections on how our brains and bodies work. Emotional overeaters are:

  • Having a feeling of resentment after neglecting one's own needs to appease others.
  • Feeling undeserving of their success, with a fear of being shamed.
  • Being a perfectionist and being constantly anxious about the possible mistakes.
  • Suppressing of all negative emotions.

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.

Being in Control

To be in control does not mean restraining. A person who is in control should have the capacity and freedom to self-govern.

Rather than fighting with your body, provide it with an autonomous control by allowing all kinds of foods back in your life, yet eating consciously, paying attention to your meals, savoring them fully. Being mindful can maximize your pleasure and minimize your eating.

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Awareness Is Key

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.

Find Relaxation Techniques

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.

Cope in Healthy Ways

Many people use food to deal with uncomfortable emotions like anger, frustration, and fear. There are healthier ways to cope with emotions:

  • Talking to a friend.
  • Journaling: When you feel like reaching for unhealthy food, reach for a pen instead.
  • Exercise.

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The art of eating
The art of eating

... is a question of psychology as much as nutrition. We have to find a way to want to eat what’s good for us.

We make frequent attempts – more or less half-hearted – to change what we...

Food preferences are learned

All the foods that you regularly eat are ones that you learned to eat.  Everyone starts life drinking milk. After that, it’s all up for grabs. 

But in today’s food culture, many people seem to have acquired uncannily homogenous tastes: food companies push foods high in sugar, fat and salt, which means we are innately incapable of resisting them but that the more frequently we eat them, especially in childhood, the more they train us to expect all food to taste this way.

0.3% of young women are anorexic

... and another 1% are bulimic, with rising numbers of men joining them.

What statistics are not particularly effective at telling us is how many others – whether overweight or underweight – are in a perpetual state of anxiety about what they consume, living in fear of carbs or fat grams and unable to derive straightforward enjoyment from meals.

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Reject the diet mentality

Dieting isn’t sustainable. Quick-fix plans cannot deliver lasting results.
T
he first principle of intuitive eating is to stop dieting—and to stop believing societ...

Honor your hunger

Eat a sufficient amount of calories and carbohydrates to keep your body “fed” and satiated. Once you learn to recognize these signals in your own body, it becomes much easier to trust your instincts and repair unhealthy relationships with food.

Make peace with food

Give yourself “unconditional permission to eat.”

People realize they don’t really want that food that was forbidden before; they just got caught up in society telling them they couldn’t have it.

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Eating Distract from Emotions

We often associate eating with relief or even excitement, and it’s only natural that we’d reach for those same feelings when we’re worried or sad.

Why we choose comfort food

Comfort foods don’t tend to be healthy. We want cake or pasta or chips when we’re emotionally eating. We have emotional memories around certain foods, which are more likely to involve your grandma’s lasagna than a salad. 

But after we eat for emotional reasons, we’re replacing our original feelings with the emotions that arise out of eating.

Comfort food

We associate comfort food with positive memories.

Think about all the happy and comforting memories you have involving food. Maybe your family used to celebrate occasions with a trip to the ice cream shop, or maybe your mom or dad used to soften the blow of a bad day with macaroni and cheese. When you’re feeling rejected or anxious today, eating one of those foods is an instant connection to that soothing time.

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Understanding Stress
  • Dealing with Stress is imperative as it is unavoidable in modern life.
  • Our work, family and our finances create daily stress and other external factors (like politics and terrorism) co...
Your Perception About Stress

With stress, the mind and the body are intrinsically linked. You can view stress as something that is wreaking havoc on your body (and it can) or as something that is giving you the strength and energy to overcome adversity.

Exposure to Stress

Regular exposure to stress in small quantities can prepare us to handle a big stressful event in our lives. Prepare yourself for stress by self-education about the stressful event, by doing some physically stressful activities like completing a marathon, or something you dread, like giving a speech.

Repeated exposure to mildly stressful conditions can alter your body’s biological response to stress, making you manage stress in a better way.

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Stress

For most people, eating feels good. And in times of stress, some people use food as the best way to calm their emotions. 

Identify stress triggers and do your best...

Depression

Depression-related symptoms like sleeplessness or inactivity can make weight loss more difficult. Some commonly prescribed antidepressants can cause you to gain weight as well.

The first step is to get screened for depression. Talk to your doctor about getting a referral to a mental health professional. He or she will be able to investigate further and determine whether you have depression and give you helpful advice for moving forward.

Personal Trauma

If you have experienced emotional trauma, it could be affecting your eating habits and your weight. Your past experiences might prevent you from losing weight in the present day. 

To reach your goal, you may want to work through the issues with a qualified professional.

Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI) can be defined as the ability to understand, manage, and effectively express one's own feelings, as well as engage and navigate successfully with those of oth...
Reduce Negative Emotions

... so they don't overwhelm you and affect your judgment. 

In order to change the way you feel about a situation, you must first change the way you think about it. 

Increased fear of rejection: “I’m applying for my dream job. I’ll be devastated if they don’t hire me.”
Decreased fear of rejection: “I’m applying for three exciting positions. If one doesn’t pan out, there are two more I’m well qualified for.”

Stay Cool and Manage Stress

How we handle stressful situations can make the difference between being assertive versus reactive, and poised versus frazzled. When under pressure, the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep our cool. 

  • If you feel nervous and anxious, put cold water on your face and get some fresh air. 
  • If you feel fearful, depressed, or discouraged, try intense aerobic exercises. Energize yourself. 

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Reach out and stay connected

You may feel too exhausted to talk, ashamed at your situation, or guilty for neglecting certain relationships. But this is just the depression talking

Staying connected to ot...

How to reach out for support
  • Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. They just need to be a good listener.
  • Make face-time a priority. Talking to someone face to face about how you feel can play a big role in relieving depression.
  • Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. 
  • Find ways to support others. 
  • Caring for a pet can get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being needed.
  • Join a support group for depression. 
Do things that make you feel good

Do things that relax and energize you. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning how to better manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, and scheduling fun activities into your day.

Even if your depression doesn’t lift immediately, you’ll gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities.

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