How to Stop Emotional Eating Habits
Emotional eating, often referred to as "feeding your feelings", can be simply described as consuming food for any reason other than genuine hunger. Emotional eating is an issue that is not often enough discussed. That may be due in part to the fact that there is a slight taboo surrounding eating disorders and people associate emotional eating with those disorders . . . but it also may be due in part to a lack of understanding or awareness on the subject. Whatever the reason, emotional eating deserves more attention than it gets, because it affects so many people on a day-to-day basis. Most likely, you have experienced emotional eating at several points in your life. Here are some tips for how to stop emotional eating habits:
Learn to recognize emotional eating
Emotional eating is different from hunger eating in a variety of ways. Stay conscious of the circumstances surrounding your desire to eat. Characteristics of emotional eating include: a sudden awareness of wanting to eat, the "need" for one particular food, eating when you are already full (or "for the taste"), and feelings of guilt when you finish eating.
Identify your triggers
Emotional eating is a response to extreme emotion. If you know you are emotional eating, then you need to take a moment to reflect on what you’re feeling at that moment. What made you feel that way? Emotional eating is often caused by traumatic events, and it is likely that you are experiencing emotions that are tied to an event from your past, without even realizing it.
Address your triggers
Remember that emotional eating is never the problem, itself. It is rather a symptom of the problem. Your triggers are causing your emotional eating, and once you identify your triggers, you can address them in order to lessen your temptation to feed your feelings. Examples of common triggers include relationship problems, stress at work, feeling left out of a social group, and boredom.
Develop alternative habits
Once you understand your triggers, you can take proactive steps to counter them. Find healthy activities to get involved in that can take the place of your emotional eating habits, and then make the conscious effort to do something different when the mood for emotional eating strikes. For example, if you and your spouse get in an argument, take a long walk to cool off instead of storming to the bedroom with a bucket of ice cream.
Try a detox diet
Jump start a major change in your eating habits with a detox diet. Detoxing will help clear your system of toxins that confuse and worsen your emotional state, so it is a great idea to use a detox diet as a starting point when you decide to change your emotional eating habits.
Emotional eating affects everyone at some point in time. If it is becoming a habit for you, then you can take these steps to stop emotional eating before it gets out of hand.