How to stop emotional eating?
Emotional eating, in its essence, is a habit of turning to food for comfort, whether consciously or unconsciously, when you face a difficult problem or when you feel stressed. Millions of people engage in emotional eating every single day around the World. It has been one of the most significant reasons for gaining weight.
This blog post will offer you some strategies on how to fight your emotional eating disorder. These strategies are simple but not easy. It will take a lot of discipline and control from you, but it will be worth it.
The basics of emotional eating and its implications
As mentioned before, emotional eating is one way we humans fight some of our hard to bear problems. Emotional eating can make you gain weight in a relatively short amount of time. Moreover, if your goal is to lose weight, it can sabotage your efforts and stop you from losing weight completely, no matter how much time you spend exercising.
How does emotional eating affect your behaviour more specifically:
- You start craving food even when you are not necessarily hungry.
- You tend to eat high-calorie sugary foods and treats.
- You start eating irregularly without any standard eating times.
On a more psychological level, there are three classes of determinants of emotional eating, according to Psychology Today:
- Situational determinants
- Psychological determinants
- Biological determinants
Situational determinants represent your current circumstances and situational factors that influence your eating behaviours. Two the most frequent ones are hunger and stress.
On the other side, psychological determinants are personality-related factors related to your motivation and self-regulation.
Lastly, biological determinants represent, for example, your weight status or sex. For example, the studies have confirmed that overweight individuals are more likely to overeat after experiencing unpleasant feelings than people with a stable weight. However, the reasons for this are still not clear.
Some useful techniques to combat emotional eating
Emotional eating is the mindset problem, and your body follows your mind. However, to successfully combat emotional eating, there are two steps:
- Stabilise and take care of your mind
- Restrict your access to the food, especially high-calorie foods.
Let’s describe each step in detail.
Stabilise and take care of your mind
The first step towards combating emotional eating habits is to stabilise and take care of your mind. If you take a look at the roots of your emotional eating, you will discover that some pent-up feelings emerge. Those feelings like stress, anger, depression or boredom can only be alleviated with mindset shift techniques like taking the proper perspective, living a purposeful life full of gratitude, meditating daily, seeking human help and community, etc.
Often, we suppress our feelings deep inside, and then we isolate ourselves. This is where all our problems start. By isolating ourselves and not confronting the actual cause of our problems, one thing leads to another, and we begin emotional eating.
It’s always better to prevent than to cure emotional eating.
Here are six tips on how to stabilise your mind:
- Have a morning routine. Start your day slowly by taking time to take care of your mind and body. Do not turn off your phone’s aeroplane mode before you complete your morning routine.
- Meditate or engage in breathing techniques daily.
- Live a purposeful life. Get a clear vision of what you want to be and accomplish in your life. Be a part of something bigger than yourself.
- Take time to express your gratitude throughout the day. Be grateful for what you have and express that gratitude freely into the world. When you are grateful, you will start attracting the right opportunities and people.
- Avoid isolating yourself when you have a problem. Instead, share it with your friend or a family member. Too many people are prisoners of their mind. Break out of your prison and let other people help you.
- Exercise regularly. I haven’t found a better cure to alter my emotional state than exercise. So no matter your emotional state, force yourself to break a sweat, and I promise you will feel much better.
There are many more creative solutions to stabilise your mind. Select what you prefer from the list, but don’t be afraid to adopt new habits. Experiment and see what works for you.
Restrict your access to the food, especially high-calorie foods
If you don’t have ice cream in your fridge, it will be much easier for you to quit your emotional habits. It’s true some people go extra to shop for sugary snacks they crave, but it takes effort. My point is, don’t stock your house with foods that you will regret eating later.
If you keep buying calorie-dense foods and storing them in your fridge or elsewhere, you will have difficulty resisting them.
So, restrict your access to the food. Here are a few additional strategies/ideas:
- Avoid buying high-calorie foods and stocking them in your house.
- Create a penalty system for yourself. For example, whenever you buy some snacks you know they are not good for you, commit to doing an extra workout that day or make a payment to your least favourite organisation. You can get creative with this kind of penalty system.
- Choose shopping far away from the place you live and do it just a few times per week if you can.
Emotional eating is not all about high-calorie foods. You can tend to overeat with healthier choices. However, high-calorie foods have the most significant impact on your weight-loss progress.
Many people around the World suffer from emotional eating. Even though it’s not officially qualified as a detrimental addiction like smoking and drinking, it can have severe consequences, especially for people who want to lose weight.
Stabilising your mindset is the key to eradicating emotional eating from your life. Get to know yourself deeply, what your purpose is, what makes you happy, etc. Moreover, surrounding yourself with caring and positive people can be a huge game-changer for you.
Until next writing,
Damir Pervan, Founder and CEO of TrainChampion | Online weight-loss platform