How to Step Away From Emotional Eating
Emotional eating is using food to fulfill emotional needs rather than physical hunger.
Emotional eating may also involve using food as a pick-me-up or as a reward. Other sensations, like boredom or loneliness, can also contribute to unhealthy eating habits.
Habits of Emotional Eaters
* Eating more when stressed
* Eating when full
* Eating to calm yourself
* Eating to feel safe
* Feeling powerless around food
Emotional Eating vs. Physical Hunger
Realizing the difference between emotional and physical hunger is an important component in overcoming emotional eating. Emotional hunger comes on suddenly, feels like it needs to be satisfied instantly, isn’t satisfied with a full stomach, and triggers negative feelings. Physical hunger comes on gradually, can be satiated by many things, and ends when you’re full.
Ending Emotional Eating
There are a few steps involved in putting an end to emotional eating. The first step is to identify triggers. Identify the places, people, or feelings that make you reach for food. It’s important to remember that emotional eating is often connected to unpleasant feelings. Some common reasons for overeating are stress, boredom or feelings of emptiness, childhood habits, and social influences.
In identifying triggers, it may also be helpful to start an emotional eating diary. Keep track of when and where you eat, and what initiates the need to eat emotionally.
The second step toward overcoming emotional eating is finding another way to fulfill emotions. It’s important to have alternatives to food, like calling a friend if you’re lonely, going for a walk if you’re anxious, taking a bath if you’re exhausted, or reading a book if you’re bored.
The third step in overcoming emotional eating is creating healthy lifestyle habits. It’s important to make daily exercise a priority and to make time for relaxation and connecting with others.
Source: Help Guide