Emotional Eating: What It Is and How to Deal with It
Many people struggle with emotional eating, but how can we stop doing it? The first step to controlling our emotional eating is to understand it.
The Science Behind Emotional Eating
There are lots of reasons that might trigger emotional eating. One of the main causes is stress.
When we get stressed, our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol increases our cravings for foods high in sugar, salt, and fat. Essentially, we crave foods that give us spikes of energy and feelings of pleasure.
So how do we stop emotional eating? The best way is to find ways to fight stress and anxiety. Read on for some more tips.
How Can We Tell When We’re Stress Eating?
The first step to stopping emotional eating is to recognize when and why we’re stress eating. The best way to do this is to start keeping a food diary. Throughout the day, start keeping track of your eating habits. Write down what you ate, how you felt before you ate it, how you felt while eating, and how you felt after.
As you keep your food diary, you’ll probably start to see a pattern. You’ll learn what exactly triggers your emotional eating, and be able to take the right steps to stop it.
How Does Stress Eating Affect Us?
Not only does stress eating make us gain weight and promote unhealthy habits, but it also affects us emotionally.
If you’re stress eating, you’ve probably noticed that, while in the moment stress eating feels good, it doesn’t feel so good afterward. You might struggle with feelings of guilt and failure. Stress eating also doesn’t fix the root of the problem. So, in the end, you’re left with negative feelings from it, and the reason you started stress eating is still there.
What Can We Do in the Moment?
Stress eating is a difficult compulsion to handle. When we eat because we feel extreme emotions, it can feel like you’re out of control. So, when we’re feeling compelled to stress eat, what can we do at the moment?
If you feel like stress eating, it’s important to practice mindfulness. Try and take a step back from the situation, and ask yourself if it’s true hunger you feel or stress hunger. Take a look at your food diary, and see if you’ve been experiencing any of your triggers.
Then, make the active choice to choose another way of coping. Recognize that there are healthier choices that will help you far more than stress eating. And then, as hard as it is, make those choices.
Once we recognize that we are stress eating, what are some of the healthier choices we can make instead of stress eating?
Healthy choices can include anything from meditation to talking your feelings out with a friend. It could be anything that will direct you away from stress eating and promote a healthier coping strategy.
Find Relaxation Techniques
One thing that will help is finding relaxation techniques to help work through stress. Consider taking up meditation or finding a relaxing hobby. In the moments where you feel like you’re about to start stress-eating, take a minute to do some meditation, or turn to your relaxing hobby.
Cope in Healthy Ways
Doing this will help you learn to cope in healthy ways, instead of turning to stress eating. Talking it out with a friend is another much healthier way to cope with your stress.
Use Mindfulness Exercises
Using mindfulness exercises will also be helpful. This means being aware of your body and all of its sensations at the moment without any judgment. It will take a lot of practice, but over time you’ll start to become more in tune with your body. It will help you stop stress eating.
Try Healthy Alternatives
If you’re still struggling with your stress eating, try changing the food you’re eating. Instead of a bag of chips, try to pack in the fruits and veggies instead. This way, if you’re unable to fight the urge to eat, you’ll at least be eating something healthy.
For some super easy tips for healthy eating, make sure you’re getting a variety of fruits and veggies, you’re getting your energy from grains, and you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
The Trouble with Emotional Eating
Because emotional eating is triggered at your lowest emotional points, and when you’re feeling vulnerable, it can be hard to follow through on all the above tips. The trick is to stay compassionate with yourself. Frustration with your emotional eating will only drag you further down into the stress eating cycle.
So set yourself up for success. Get rid of the junk food in your house. That way, if you do end up stress eating, it’ll be a healthy alternative.
The Secret to Weight Loss
Since emotional eating can lead to significant weight gain, you might be wondering how to get the weight off. Diet and exercise are your best bets, and you should look for a system that you know will work for you long-term.
You can also try weight loss supplements, like Razalean. However, you should make sure you’re doing thorough research before you turn to these supplements since many are not regulated by the FDA.
Make sure that you always look for top rated weight loss supplements.
Immune boosting foods like citrus fruits, yogurt, ginger, and garlic can help you get rid of the weight.
Reevaluate What’s Stressing You
To have any real long-term success with eliminating your stress eating, it’s important to reevaluate the things that are triggering your stress eating. Once you’ve identified what’s causing your emotional eating, you can work to unpack the reasons why it stresses you out so much. Then you can work towards eliminating that stress.
Examine Your Cravings
As part of your mindfulness practice, pay attention to what your body craves and when. If you crave sugary, salty, or fatty foods when stressed, that’s an indicator you’re leaning towards emotional eating.
1. How Do I Stop Stress and Emotional Eating?
Relaxation techniques and mindfulness are the best ways to keep yourself from emotional eating. If you start feeling like you might stress eat, give yourself 5 minutes before you reach for the pantry door. During those 5 minutes, spend some time evaluating your cravings, and consider redirecting your stress towards a healthier alternative.
2. Why Do I Turn to Food for Comfort?
When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol. This can trigger cravings for sweet and fatty foods because your body thinks it might be in danger, and that you need to prepare to fight off whatever is causing the stress.
3. What Does Emotional Eating Mean?
Emotional eating means the act of trying to suppress or deal with strong, negative emotions by eating.
4. Do You Feel Guilty or Ashamed Because of Emotional Eating?
Many people who struggle with stress and emotional eating tend to feel very guilty. Emotional eating can make you feel out of control, which leads to feelings of shame. This is very normal for people who stress eat—just remember that there are ways to overcome this.
Although stress eating can be challenging to deal with, there are ways you can overcome it. The first step is being mindful of what triggers your emotional eating. By keeping a food diary, you can determine what your triggers are. Now, when your triggers do come up, you can practice finding healthier alternatives to stress eating and take back your life.