If I told you that is possible to overcome emotional eating in 4 easy steps, would you believe me? Possibly! But more likely you were not aware that ’emotional eating’ is the reason that you are struggling to maintain a healthy weight.
So let me ask you:
Do you feel like you have a never-ending battle with your scales? Are you tired of gaining weight that stays with you forever? The underlying cause of your weight gain might be emotional eating.
What is emotional eating?
Emotional eating is a complex topic, but it has essential elements that are easy to recognize.
Emotional overeating is defined as disordered eating that is characterized by the compulsion to eat even if you are not hungry or you know that you are full.
Eating when you are not hungry tends to be a response to negative emotions or thoughts. It is also seen as a coping strategy for those who are under stress or who have suffered abuse. Statistically, around 60% of people who emotionally eat have suffered some type of abuse – mental, physical or sexual abuse – in the past.
Food often provides comfort for emotional eaters. However, comfort is only temporary! Emotional overeating can sabotage your diet and weight-loss goals. It will also negatively affect your health.
Luckily, there are easy steps you can take today to stop emotional overeating!
Try these strategies:
- Figure out your triggers. In many cases, emotional eating is triggered by an event, thought, or feeling. Pay attention to when and why you eat. Figure out what are your triggers. It will be easier to take control of them and stop them from encouraging you to overeat. The most common triggers are stress and negative emotions. Other triggers can be difficult days at work, fights with your family or spouse, and issues with friends or co-workers.
- Hypnotherapy will help you deal with your triggers.
- Eat only when you’re hungry. Teach your body to accept food only when you’re really hungry instead of viewing it as a constant source of comfort. This will take time because changing any habit in your subconscious mind will take 20 to 40 days and your eating habits are no different. However, you can rebuild the neural pathways in your Subconscious by making small changes each day to your eating patterns and habits. Learn to listen to your body and pay attention to real hunger pangs.
- Create alternative plans. For example, if you know that you overeat after a difficult meeting at work each week, then plan ahead to prevent it. Substitute a more positive action that also brings you comfort or reduces your stress. By creating alternative plans that don’t involve eating, you will be setting yourself up for diet success. For example, you can plan a long walk or gym workout after work to get rid of stress.
- Don’t turn to Emotional eating after an argument, you can (a) watch your favorite TV show (b) go for a walk (c) challenge yourself with a computer game or (d) get on the phone with a friend.
The key is to find other ways to deal with stress and negative emotions.
Surround yourself with people who care. One of the main reasons many people turn to emotional overeating is because they feel like they don’t have a support network. Do you feel alone and isolated?
Reach out to family, friends, coworkers, and others for help.
Build a strong support network around you that can help you deal with negativity and stress. Find those whom you can call or visit without worrying that you’re intruding or upsetting them. In turn, be open to offering them support, too.
Explain to friends or loved ones about emotional overeating so they can understand why you overeat. Discuss effective techniques that can motivate you to stick to a diet or exercise plan. They can remind you of these techniques when you need help, without being authoritarian or critical, to help you get back on track.
Emotional overeating doesn’t have to control your life. You can fight it and overcome it with these easy strategies.