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These Stress-Relieving Techniques Can Stop Emotional Eating

Use Mindfulness Exercises

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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These Stress-Relieving Techniques Can Stop Emotional Eating

These Stress-Relieving Techniques Can Stop Emotional Eating

https://www.verywellmind.com/stress-and-emotional-eating-how-to-stop-3144528

verywellmind.com

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Key Ideas

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.

Become aware of why you're eating when you eat. Maintain a food journal. If you have to log what you eat right before you eat it, you may realize you're eating for the wrong reasons, and can then move onto another approach to deal with your feelings.

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.

Face Your Problems

If you’re using food to muffle your feelings in a difficult relationship, try assertiveness instead. 

If food is your only treat at a job you hate, try techniques for finding satisfaction at your job, or get a different one. If you look to solution-based coping mechanisms to cut down on the stress in your life, you won’t need food to help you cope.

Use Mindfulness Exercises

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.

Try Healthy Alternatives

If these techniques don’t completely eliminate your emotional eating urges, go ahead and indulge—but use healthier fare. 

Munch on veggies or healthy snacks instead of chips; savor one small piece of dark chocolate instead of binging on a whole chocolate muffin from the coffee shop.

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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 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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Intuitive eating

It is a philosophy of eating that makes you the expert of your body and its hunger signals.

Essentially, it’s the opposite of a traditional diet. It doesn’t impose guidelines about wha...

The basics

To eat intuitively, you may need to relearn how to trust your body. Distinguish between physical and emotional hunger:

  • Physical hunger. This biological urge tells you to replenish nutrients. It builds gradually and has different signals, such as a growling stomach, fatigue, or irritability. 
  • Emotional hunger. This is driven by emotional need. Sadness, loneliness, and boredom are some of the feelings that can create cravings for food, often comfort foods. 
History of intuitive eating

Some of the concepts of intuitive eating have been around at least since the early 1970s, though the term wasn’t coined until 1995.

The program was built on the principle that diets don’t work and that lifestyle changes and personal care are more important for long-term health.

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