Emotional eating? Eating IS emotional – we are emotional creatures.
Emotional eating is extremely common; we eat to celebrate, to mourn, to connect. And that’s okay. Really. Think about eating – it almost always does (and should) create emotions! To eat without experiencing any emotional ties is nearly impossible to imagine. Eating is an experience and sometimes, we eat for reasons other than physical hunger.
The issue is that food can never solve the real problem at hand. Over indulging can not only intensify mental and emotional issues, but also create health problems. If eating becomes a way to bury all our problems, a normal act can turn into a more serious matter.
If you are someone who turns to food when emotions start to run high, take a deep breath and give yourself a break (and a hug). Remember you are not alone and you are not a “bad person” because you eat emotionally at times. Feeling guilty will only add to any negative emotions coming your way.
There are many ways to combat emotional eating habits. One strategy is to control your environment. For example: Don’t keep ice cream in the house. Instead – if you want a sweet creamy treat to celebrate a big promotion, take a walk with some friends to the nearest ice cream parlor or, if you’re turning to a bag of chips for comfort after a fight with a loved one, try a long walk to clear your mind instead. Being active is a great alternative to emotional eating because it not only takes your mind off the craving at hand, but also produces endorphins (a feel-good hormone).
Another approach is to engage the help of positive relationships. Call a faithful friend or sibling that can help you sort through whatever emotion you are going through in the moment. Smile – watch funny videos or listen to a comedian. Meditation, journaling, prayer, and music can also help release stress and anxiety.
Stay mindful: When you do eat – be sure to take in and appreciate the whole experience. Some ways to do this are to eat slowly, savoring each bite and enjoying the entire meal experience – the taste, the aroma, the company. Practice gratitude, what a gift to have the ability to nourish your body with delicious foods!
At the end of the day remember, emotional eating is a natural human response… after a hard day, chips and gauc is one way to deal with your emotions – but so is calling your mom, going on a run or practicing meditation.
Take a deep breath. You’ve got this 🙂 I believe in you.