Emotional eating is when you reach for food to fill an emotional void and get instant gratification. Food becomes your solution for coping with stress, anger, anxiety or sadness. You end up adding extra calories to your daily routine and therefore weight gain and hinder any progress in maintaining health, and make you enter a vicious circle of over indulgence and guilt.
Following are some tips on how to manage emotional eating and get yourself in control of your health.
Acknowledge your emotion and accept the fact that having low and sad moments are normal and it’s alright to feel them without reaching for an immediate gratification. Once you do so, then you avoid reaching for something you don’t need to instantly alleviate your mood.
Know your triggers. Keeping a diary and jotting down your mood as you are eating can help identify the number of times you eat when in a bad mood, the challenging times you have, and which foods create a weakness. Therefore, it gives you time to understand your habits and prepare solutions.
Distract yourself. If there is a weakness toward a particular food item, then make sure not to have it at arm’s length keeping healthy food items at a visible level in your pantry. If boredom is the reason, then find ways to entertain yourself other than eating, like joining social clubs, group exercising, or attending to your vanity.
Keep your hunger satisfied. If you practice eating 5 small meals in a day then you balance your blood sugars and hormones, and help keeping you away from craving that serotonin surge. Include whole grains, healthy fats and good sources of protein in a balanced way. This will get you more in control of your mood and therefore your amount and type of food.
Allow yourself to enjoy the food. When you find yourself unable to fight off the temptation, then lengthen the process of eating. Take your time, set up the table with full place setting, chew it well and allow yourself to enjoy it in controlled portions. Then clean up and leave the room immediately, and move on to other tasks. This will calm you down and lessen your craving for it when the next mood swing comes around. It might seem easier said than done, but if you prepare in your mind ideas ahead of time, you’ll find yourself more in control when faced with challenging situations. Mindful eating and building healthy habits is a necessity when you are an emotional eater.
For further help and to personalize your counseling, please contact our expert dietitians at the Right Bite Nutrition Center, and get yourself started in your journey to better health. We offer customized meal packages and nutrition consultations to fit your needs.