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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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More by this author

Ivan Dimitrijevic

Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

How to Overcome Boredom

How to Overcome Boredom

Have you ever been bored? Restless? Fidgety? In need of some inspiration?

I have a theory on boredom. I believe that the rate of boredom has increased alongside the pace of technology.

If you think about it, technology has provided us with mobile phones, laptops, Ipads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem: boredom.

What is Boredom?

We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment. We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People now do not know how to sit still, and we feel guilty when we are not doing anything. Today, inactivity has become the ultimate sin.

You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety and stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.

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It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’ – it’s a desire for sensory stimulation. What it boils down to is a lack of focus.

If you think about those times when you’re bored, it’s usually because you did not know what to do. So, indecision also plays a big part.

When we are focused on what’s important to us and what we want to achieve, it’s pretty hard to be bored. So, one answer to boredom is to become focused on what you want.

Sometimes It’s Good to Be Bored

If boredom is a desire for sensory stimulation – then what’s the opposite of that? To be content with no stimulation – in other words – to enjoy stillness.

Sometimes, it’s not boredom itself that causes the frustration but the resistance to doing nothing.

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Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore, and you will feel more relaxed!

In my experience, it’s often the most obvious, simplistic solutions that are the most powerful in life. So, when you’re bored, the easiest way to combat this is to enjoy it.

It may sound weird but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st-century living provides – constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phone calls, etc.

Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually good for us?

Next time you’re ‘feeling bored’ instead of feeding the frustration by frantically looking for something to do, maybe you can sit back, relax, and savor the feeling of having nothing to do.

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In this article, I’ll share with you my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom.

3-Step Strategy to Overcome Boredom

1. Get Focused

Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. Focusing on something important helps prevent boredom because it forces you to utilize your time productively.

You should ask yourself: what would make good use of your time? What could you be doing that would contribute to your major goals in life?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Spend some time in quiet contemplation considering what’s important to you.
  • Start that creative project you’ve been talking about for the last few weeks.
  • Brainstorm: think of some ideas for new innovative products or businesses.

2. Kill Procrastination

Boredom is useful in some ways because it gives you the energy and time to do things. It is only a problem if you let it. But if you use it to motivate yourself to be productive, then you can more easily overcome boredom.

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So, the next time you’re bored, why not put this good energy to use by ticking off those things that you have been meaning to get done but have been too busy to finish? This also presents a great time for you to clear your to-do list.

Here are some ideas:

  • Do some exercise.
  • Read a book.
  • Learn something new.
  • Call a friend.
  • Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write).
  • Do a spring cleaning.
  • Wash the car.
  • Renovate the house.
  • Re-arrange the furniture.
  • Write your shopping list.
  • Water the plants.
  • Walk the dog.
  • Sort out your mail & email.
  • De-clutter (clear out that wardrobe).

3. Enjoy Boredom

If none of the above solutions work, then you can try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it. This doesn’t mean allowing yourself to waste your time being bored. Instead, think of it as your time to relax and re-energize, which will help you be more productive the next time you work.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly doing things to be productive. In fact, research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.[1] Taking breaks once in a while helps boost your performance and can help make you feel more motivated.

So, take some time to relax. You never know, you might even like it.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to overcome boredom may be difficult at the beginning, but it can be easier if you make use of some techniques. You can start with my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom and work your way from there. So, ready your mind and make use of these tips, and you will be overcoming boredom in no time.

More Tips on Overcoming Boredom

Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

Reference

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