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6 Ways To Control Emotional Eating

6 Ways To Control Emotional Eating

We are in the middle of an obesity epidemic that is showing no signs of slowing down, and although there are a few things that can be said about accepting who you are, being confident and not being superficial when it comes to looks, the fact of the matter is that being dramatically overweight increases health risks. This is particularly due to the large amounts of unhealthy foods we consume and the lack of key nutrients in our diets.

Emotional eating is often the culprit when it comes to gaining large amounts of weight—it is a diet killer, an emotional black hole and a drain on your wallet. Some people just can’t handle stress without that happy feeling they get from sugary or high-fat foods. So how do you control this sudden and overwhelming urge?

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1. Eat regularly

There are a lot of little tasks during the day that can keep us from having the old “three square meals a day.” Instead of sitting down and having a nice, filling lunch consisting of several different dishes including salads and soup, we just buy some junk food and basically live off snacks, sweets and soda a good part of the day. If a craving strikes it is easy to say we are really just hungry and to keep eating all the junk food we already have at our side. Instead of this, try to eat three big meals a day and have two to three small snacks along the way—some fruit or a homemade milkshake are great treats. This way you won’t be too hungry at any given part of the day and having set meals will allow you greater control over your diet.

2. Eliminate junk food from your home

If you don’t have any unhealthy comfort foods in your home it will be difficult to binge on them even if you break down and give in to your cravings. Go for salads, some fruit, soups and similar meals that won’t be too high on calories. I don’t recommend nuts; although they are healthy when consumed in moderation, it is quite easy to sit back and eat a bucket load of them when you are feeling down. If you still feel a strong need for something sweet after a couple of apples or a banana, identify this as an irrational craving and take steps to overcome it.

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3. Distract yourself

The simplest way to deal with a craving is to give your brain something else to think about. Dive into that DIY project you have been putting off for some time, have a friend over and play some video games, take the dog for a walk, sit down and have a cup of coffee with a family member, put on some great music and dance in front of the mirror—anything that gets your mind occupied. Even hardcore smokers can get so distracted by a project that they let a cigarette burn itself out in the ashtray, so find a good way to keep yourself busy and avoid emotional eating.

4. Break bad habits

When you respond to one stimulus by immediately performing a certain action, you program your body to work a certain way. After a while you can basically train yourself to respond to negative feedback, emotional pain and stress by eating ice cream or cake. At this point it is like a reflex action with little conscious planning. You need to identify the situations that trigger emotional eating for you and make an effort to switch to a more positive course of action. You are getting an endorphin high from the sweets and you need to replace this with another stimulus, such as listening to music, singing, running, dancing or cuddling up with someone you love and trust. If you don’t have junk food in your home it can be easier to resort to another tactic straight away than to go out and buy some chocolate or wait for the pizza to arrive.

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5. Do some exercise

Exercise is a great substitute for eating when you are feeling down, but is also a great way to boost your self-confidence and relieve stress irrespective of when it is performed. Regular exercise is good for both physical and mental health, and activities like running, punching bag training and yoga can also be used as a direct means of dealing with emotional distress brought on by various events in your life.

6. Go to a qualified therapist

In the end, if you don’t feel like you are able to cope, even with all the advice you have been offered and the emotional support of your close friends and family, it is best to seek out professional help. Some of the causes of emotional eating can be deep-seated emotional issues related to sexuality, self-perception or morality, and these issues can’t be easily resolved. Coming to terms with negative things that have happened in the past is a long and slow process, but it can be done and there are professionals willing to help.

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Ivan Dimitrijevic

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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