Food is supposed to nourish and fuel us, but eating can also be triggered by feelings other thank hunger, such as boredom, anxiety or depression. Signs that you may be eating for emotional reasons include sudden cravings for sweets or specific foods, eating when it’s unlikely that you’re hungry (such as 30 minutes after dinner) and feeling guilty after eating.
I’ve always been somewhat of an emotional eater, but in the past year, I seem to have had a handle on it. Cue up the last two weeks, though, and I’ve been fighting it tooth and nail! My father’s health has declined rapidly during that time, and I’m still grieving the loss of my dog, amongst other things. In two hours last night, I had five Dove dark chocolate Promises (which were old and waxy, by the way), three Dark Chocolate Salted Figs and six Oreos.
Here are some tips to help avoid emotional eating:
- Keep a journal of what and when you eat to better understand the pattern. Sometimes just being aware that you are emotionally eating helps curb it.
- Try to keep unhealthy foods (or foods that you tend to eat when emotional) out of your personal space, such as your house, office and/or car.
- When the urge to eat strikes, ask yourself if you’re really hungry. If not, find an alterntative. Walk, work out, read, take a hot bath – do anything except eat.
- Try to identify the feeling that’s triggering your emotional eating and learn to tolerate the emotion.
- Consider recording your feelings or sharing them with a trusted friend or family member.
- Learn a relaxation technique, such as meditation.
Are you an emotional eater? How to you control it? What works for you, and what doesn’t?