Conquer Emotional Eating

October 28, 2013

General, Motivation, Tips & Tools

Avoid self-medicating with food

Alicia has had a tough day. She missed an important deadline at work, had a flat tire on the way to pick up the kids, burned dinner, and forgot to pick up the dry cleaning. Now she just wants to kick back with a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Over the last year, Alicia’s worked hard to lose 20 pounds so she’s trying to resist the urge to eat the ice cream, but it’s so, so tempting…

stress eatingSound familiar? Many of us eat in response to feelings other than hunger. Sometimes we eat when we’re sad, angry, stressed, tired, and even bored. And when we eat for emotional reasons, we typically binge on high calorie, high fat, and high sodium junk foods. The result? More bad feelings like guilt and regret.

Take this quiz

Are you an emotional eater? Test yourself with these questions.

  • Do you eat more when you’re stressed?
  • Do you eat when you’re not hungry or when you’re full?
  • Do you eat to feel better?
  • Do you reward yourself with food?
  • Do you feel out of control around food?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re probably filling your stomach to fill an emotional, rather than a physical need.

Five tips to curb emotional eating

Nearly everyone experiences emotional eating at some point. The secret is to recognize and control it. Try these five tips the next time you’re tempted to soothe a bad mood with something unhealthy.

  1. Do something else. Distract yourself with an alternative to eating. Call a friend, go for a walk, take a warm bath, or meditate. Choose an activity that you enjoy to take your mind off what’s bothering you.
  2. Take five. When you’re standing in front of the fridge or pantry with the urge to eat, walk away for five minutes. Ask yourself if you’re really hungry, or if something else is driving your craving. Give the craving a little time to pass.
  3. Plan for it. If you know that you could eat a whole package of cookies in one sitting, don’t have cookies in the house. Instead plan for healthy snacks. That way when a craving is just too much to resist, you can satisfy it without all the guilt.
  4. Talk about it. Before you have a snack, announce out loud, “I’m not hungry, but I’m going to eat this anyway.” This breaks the pattern of unnecessary, negative eating. Research shows a typical person can lose almost two pounds a month doing this one simple thing.
  5. Focus on the food. Mindless eating often leads to overeating. Don’t eat in front of the TV or when your attention is somewhere else. Concentrate on the taste and texture of the foods you’re eating so you can enjoy them.

Don’t eat, make a call instead

If the stress behind your emotional eating has become overwhelming, you may benefit from talking to someone who specializes in stress management.  Here are a few other resources to help with stress or emotional eating issues:

Call your COACH!! We’re here to help – If you haven’t signed up for FREE coaching yet:

Request Suzann to be your coach: Get Coach Suzann
Request Ken to be your coach: Get Coach Ken


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