How Not to Be an Emotional Eater

I was inspired to write this short blog as I’ve met a couple of people recently who have talked about being an emotional eater and this gets in the way of their goals for a healthier lifestyle. I would also consider myself as an emotional eater, mainly when I’m feeling down or uncertain about an important decision. Personally, I feel that when I eat, it distracts my brain from thoughts, and I get that temporary feeling of satisfaction, comfort and content. However, this is very short-lived and I spent the rest of the day feeling worse that I just scoffed a family size bar of chocolate.  I’m sure that you can relate to a certain extent. Because I am aware of this, I can intervene. I can also plan on what to do when I feel I will be triggered. I mean, we can’t always control stressful situations, however what we can do is try to gain back some control from spiralling in the vicious cycle every single time. A few things will happen when we do this, we will be able to work through stresses and uncomfortable emotions without running away from them. As a by-product to this, we will reach our health goals without self sabotage.

So how to overcome or manage it better you ask? A few things which has helped me are –

When you’re feeling stressed, take some time to pause and take deep breaths, I mean deeeeep, with a big pause at the top. Count 5-6 seconds as you breathe in, hold for 2-3 seconds with your lungs expanded, and then breathe out for longer than you breathed in. This will give your brain a little bit more time to think straight and consider which is the best action to take.

  1. Talk to someone, a friend, a family member, a pet. Even if it’s just getting your thoughts out to them, this can act as a distraction and also includes someone else rather than you being alone with your thoughts. Just make sure you don’t make the suggestion to go for a McDonald’s or something else naughty 😛
  2. Don’t keep unhealthy food in the house, seriously, if I was to have a snack drawer, or biscuits in the cupboard for visitors, I would be impulsively invading it.
  3. Think about other things which are not food related which you could do instead when you become stressed, like drinking a fruity herbal tea, put your headphones in and listen to music, take a bath, watch a comedy or funny clips on YouTube or go on a power walk.
  4. Exercise!!! Should have been first really… however, perfect way to release stress, and this can be anything you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be in the gym, it could be a dance class, tennis, jogging.
  5. Keeping a journal and write down such events which lead to painful feelings, anything which has made you feel anxious, sad and lonely and use it to reflect and get a better understanding of your emotions.

I hope that some of these tips are helpful, if you have any others which have worked for you please comment below would love to hear.

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