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.
- 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 😛
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.