How to stop emotional eating

How to stop emotional eating


Maintaining good health can be a struggle, especially when you have trouble sticking to a balanced diet full of the nutrients your body needs to thrive. Issues like emotional eating make it very difficult to eat the foods that are good for your body and mind, making it even harder to stay healthy. The good news is that you aren’t alone – many people struggle with emotional eating every day. We have a few tips that might help you to stop emotional eating, too. Let’s take a look! 

What can I do instead of eating?

Emotional “hunger” is something that mimics actual hunger, leading you to believe that you truly need to eat. The best way to avoid this is to distract yourself with other activities. There are many good options, and the best course of action will depend upon your specific interests and tastes. With that said, there are a few common activities to keep in mind when you find yourself emotional and at risk of binge eating. First, consider taking a walk. Moving around and heading outdoors can be a great distraction from the desire to eat, especially if you are able to immerse yourself in the moment. If walking isn’t an option, try working or browsing the internet if you’re at home. Catching up with work might not be the most enjoyable activity, but it is an effective one that can your mind off of your hunger. Browsing your favorite sites can serve as a more enjoyable, but far less productive, distraction, too. Hobbies are also good options to keep your mind engaged. 

How do I stop emotional pain?

While there are things you can do to try and curb emotional eating, it’s important to recognize that you’re using food as a coping mechanism. There is something more going on, in other words, and instead of dealing with the cause of the pain you’re feeling you are comforting yourself with an often unhealthy diet. The best way to stop emotional pain is to reach out to a professional for help. They can help you understand why you’re experiencing the emotions in question and how to stop. You can also try working through these issues on your own, but it can sometimes be difficult to accept the true cause of the pain without objective help. 

Why is emotional eating harmful?

Emotional eating is harmful for a variety of reasons. Binge eating, an issue commonly associated with emotional eating, can lead to consuming food that isn't part of a healthy diet – food that can quickly lead to weight gain and additional health issues. And because you use food as a way to cope with pain and other negative emotions, weight loss will prove to be a challenge because your instinct might be to eat your favorite foods when you're hungry or upset with a lack of a progress. When left unchecked, excess wait can lead to issues like diabetes and heart disease, further impacting your overall health and causing a distinct drop in your quality of life. The best thing you can do is treat the cause of the emotional eating and address the root of the problem.

How do you know if you are an emotional eater?

Because emotional eaters tend to use food as an escape, it can be difficult to recognize that something is wrong. If you are concerned you might be emotional eating, one of the best things you can do is track your food intake. Keep a journal and record all of the food and beverages you consume every day – and be honest. Track your moods and stress levels at the same time. Do you see a change in your diet when you are dealing with stress or emotional pain? Are you eating to help yourself feel better during these times? If you see a pattern, you might be an emotional eater. 

What are my emotional needs?

The first step to stopping emotional eating is to recognize and acknowledge your emotional needs. Are your needs unfulfilled elsewhere in life? Understanding why you’re struggling with your emotions is important to the healing process. Most of us have common emotional needs like feeling safe, feeling appreciated, feeling accomplished, and feeling as though you belong – as though you are part of a community or bigger “whole”. If these needs are not being met, you might find yourself unfulfilled. 

How do I meet my emotional needs?

The best way to meet your emotional needs is to reach out to a professional for personalized help. Beyond that, there are a few steps you can take. First, write down exactly how you feel right before you eat and try to figure out from where that emotion stems. Acknowledging that you don’t feel okay can be difficult, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Once you understand why you are experiencing such strong emotions, you can work towards addressing the issues that caused them in the first place.

Emotional eating isn’t an easy topic to tackle, but with time, patience, and self-love, you can overcome it. Keep the above information in mind as you begin to track your eating patterns and emotions, and remember to be kind to yourself in the process. 

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