How to Stop Emotional Eating - 5 Simple Steps

By Padmapreetham Mahalingam

Have you tried every way to lose weight but it seems like success eludes you? Do you always find yourself chomping away on a bar of chocolate every day? Are you going through some kind of a trauma or facing unpleasant emotions such as sadness or loneliness yet you always prefer to combat your emotional problem with food?

Then make sure to change your habit. Perhaps you might have noticed that you tend to eat without feeling particularly ravenous, this kind of behaviour usually stems from eating in response to emotions. This is also one of the reasons why many diets backfire.

Emotional eating is all about seeking comfort or disruption in food. Usually, emotional eating is responding to feelings such as stress by eating high-calorie foods with low nutritional value. You eat in reaction to your emotions, rather than physiological necessity and you tend to eat more to quell your stress and get a sense of comfort during a difficult period.

Sometimes, this can meddle with our ability to use healthier methods of dealing with feelings. And some of the worst things to do is to self-medicate with food, which would eventually lead to feeling worse, both physically and emotionally.

If this is untreated, it can cause obesity and lead to food addiction. If you want to reduce the stress, then don't use food as a sustenance, rather look for ways to solve the problems.

It is up to you to shrink the link between food and emotional succor by cultivating a healthier attitude and sustaining ways to act in response to your emotions. By mindful eating, you can get over the emotional habits that tried to sabotage your diet in the past and now learn to consider food in the most nourishing and satisfying ways.

All you need to do is regain control over your food and emotional response. If it isn't taken seriously, it can gravely cause cycles of binging or weight gain. Here are some ways to stop emotional eating.

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1. Listen To Your Emotions & Never Abandon Yourself

Emotional eating happens when a person prefers to use food as an attempt to cope with the negative thoughts. When you start to consider that overeating has an alleviating effect and helps you to release yourself from discomfort and takes your attention from unwanted negative feelings, it kind of does its harm already.

Emotional eating can be a symptom what health professionals call as a typical depression. So how do we end this pattern? When your emotions go awry, tell yourself that you are feeling okay even when you're feeling sad, tired or mad - whatever you want to name it.

Consider your negative feelings with kindness and try to put a question about what they want from you. When you go through the intense feelings of disappointment and resentment in your emotional eating episode, try to approach your feelings with placidness and kindness.

And when you try to listen to your emotions, you will tend to discover what you truly want. Try to increase capacity to tolerate unwanted negative thoughts. Try listening to your emotions and then try to create new strategies for deeper satisfaction in your life. Look for ways to bring happiness in your life whether it's golf, swimming, reading, dancing or travelling.

2. Pay Attention To Compliments

People with insecurities will always try to dismiss compliments or prefer to ignore them. It tallies with the view that it must be nonsense. It is a big no. It is wrong. For a week, try to write down the compliment that you come across such as "great work", "thanks for your advice" and "it really helped", "I love your kurta" and "you are looking nice". When you start to accept the good bits and moreover when you write it down, it can make you feel more positive as a person.

3. Calm Yourself Down

There are many ways you can soothe your raw nerves without snacking such as journaling or connecting with others or through meditating techniques. Some people are afraid of breathing exercises, since they fear it would take a long time.

You can choose an exercise that can match your mood. Cleansing breath works well for emotional eaters who need to clear negative worries. Firstly, sit or stand comfortably. Try to inhale slowly through your nose. Make sure to hold your breath for a few seconds. Next exhale.

Blow the entire breath out in little spurts of air. With each puff out, try to visualize that you're blowing away worries and toxic thoughts. Assume that your negative thoughts and worries are falling on to the floor.

4. Release Tension Through Activity

Mindless eating might zone you out from daily stress, but that cannot eliminate your negative feelings such as sadness, anger, or loneliness. Try an activity that can fill the emotional need and stop the craving. Need comfort? Then go to a park or a lonely space. When you talk about a lonely space, then a washroom can be the best option. Have a herbal scented candle-lit bath. If you still feel bored or lethargic, then go for a jog or power walk or beat a pillow or listen to upbeat music.

5. Craving Journal

Keeping a food journal such as a notebook or spreadsheet on your laptop can be beneficial. Try to note a few things during the time of the day, be it your description of your hunger, what you are currently feeling and why you feel that way. And the moment you find yourself craving for food, then answer a few questions such as, "what am I feeling?" and "what am I craving?"

Always carry your journal with you when you feel you're craving for food or you can try to listen to loud upbeat music to release the tension that is making you disconsolate.

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