Discovering an End to Emotional Eating

Discovering an End to Emotional Eating

To Soothe Your Emotions, Find Alternatives to Food

When I coach clients on losing weight, I help pinpoint the causes of overeating. The biggest reason is eating to soothe negative emotions, rather than eating for hunger. This is called “emotional eating.” I’d like to help you identify when this happens and find alternatives so you can lose weight.

Some people eat large amounts of junk food to curb feelings of depression, stress, and boredom. When your emotions trigger you to overeat, you may beat yourself up for getting off track, feel sad, then turn to food again. It’s time to break this cycle!

Whatever emotion causes you to overeat, the results can sabotage your weight-loss goals. Try to recognize what moods trigger you to overeat. Major life events or even minor hassles of everyday life can trigger emotional eating.

Emotional eating tends to be automatic and habitual, so be mindful of when you use food to feel better. Many people find it helps to keep a food journal to identify emotional triggers. Then you can begin to take control of these situations.

I encourage you to learn how to directly address feelings of emotional distress, rather than covering them up with food. The solution is to find other outlets that bring you relief.

Alternatives to Emotional Eating

Here are a few of my favorite ways to manage moods without food. I’d love to hear about your favorite strategies too!

Depression

If you find yourself eating to comfort sadness or find energy, I encourage you to discover other ways. Find activities other than eating that bring you joy and life:

  • Go for a walk or jog in nature
  • Get plenty of sunshine
  • Exercise to release feel-good endorphins
  • Call a friend who makes you feel better
  • Plan a dream vacation or social function
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Play with a pet
  • Look through your favorite photos
  • Go to a museum or gallery

Stress

If you find yourself turning to junk food to relieve stress and anxiety, know that there are many healthy and better ways to find peace:

  • Get a massage
  • Exercise strenuously to blow off steam
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Read your favorite book or magazine
  • Listen to soothing music
  • Meditate
  • Visualize calm and pleasant memories
  • Breathing exercises
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Light some candles
  • Yoga or Tia Chi

Boredom

If you find yourself eating simply to fill time and alleviate loneliness, consider other ways to find fulfillment:

  • Get lost in your favorite hobby
  • Dance to your favorite songs
  • Watch a comedy show
  • Plan a social event
  • Call a friend for good conversation
  • Do housework, laundry, or yard work
  • Explore the great outdoors
  • Join a sports league
  • Nurture your creative side with painting or writing

In the comments below, let me know your favorite non-food alternatives to soothing your emotions!

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