10 Tips To Overcome Emotional Eating

Binge and emotional eating can be different things, they can be a way to cope with anxiety or stress, a response to an emotional trigger, a habit that has been built over years of trying different diets and weight-loss programs, or all of the above. 

emotional eating

 

There are many possible root causes, which can be scary because it doesn't feel like you have any control over what you're going to do next time the urge strikes. 

The most important thing for you to know is that it is not your fault. 

 

Emotional Hunger VS Biological hunger

We must eat to live. So, you may be wondering how to distinguish between emotional cues and true hunger cues. According to the Mayo Clinic  there are several differences that might help you understand what you’re experiencing.

 

Physical hunger

Emotional hunger

It develops slowly over time

It comes about suddenly or abruptly

You desire a variety of food groups

You crave only certain foods

You feel the sensation of fullness and take it as a cue to stop eating

You may binge on food and not feel a sensation of fullness

You have no negative feelings about eating

You feel guilt or shame about eating

 

Having a greater self-awareness of the psychological, emotional and behavioural processes that affect the way we eat, can help us implement and cultivate healthier eating habits.

Here are some tips to help you:

Become Aware

Most of the time when you are emotionally eating you aren’t aware of it.

Begin to notice and accept that you are more than likely emotionally eating.

How to identify when you are emotionally eating, ask yourself: Am I hungry? Am I feeling, emotional, excited, bored, sad, lonely, exhausted?

emotional eating

Honour Your Own Hunger

For chronic dieters, it is pretty common to not understand when your body is trying to get your attention to eat. You’ve spent so much time and energy trying to silence your own body cues that your body might change how it is talking to you. 

But don’t worry, your body is adaptable and creative and offers hunger cues in multiple ways.

Get A Good Night Sleep

No one can function at their best if they’re sleep-deprived. Honour your own needs by getting 7-9 hours of sleep as often as you can. Being well rested helps to support your own healing and resilience. 

 

Drop The Guilt

Eating should feel good, both mentally and physically. If your food rules and restrictions are getting in the way of that, please know that you deserve to feel better.

Sit With Your Emotions

 What are you feeling that makes you want to binge? Identify it, and accept it without judging the emotion or yourself. This will be hard at first but emotions pass, and as you accept your feelings, you’ll realize you don’t have to binge to get rid of them.

Stop Trying To Be Perfect

Striving for perfection often results in no progress at all. Don’t look at things as if they’re black or white. You don’t have to be “perfectly on plan” or “completely off”. There can be a balance.

Both food and behaviour are never all good or all bad. One of my primary goals with clients is to help them start learning how to live in the grey. This is true with feelings and with food. There is no “perfect” meal plan, no “perfect weight” and striving to be perfect puts pressure on yourself that can backfire.

Find Your Happy Place

Do whatever makes you feel good about yourself. You can listen to your favourite music that boosts your mood, hit the gym, or watch a funny movie.

solve emotional eating 

Find Joyful Movement

Joyful movement is exactly as it sounds: movement that brings a smile to your face and you do purely for fun: not for burning calories, weight loss or to “earn” a specific meal or snack.

 

Relieve Stress

Some options include: meditation, yoga, guided relaxation, deep breathing exercises.

Get Support

Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself. Call your trusted friend or support group member and tell them what you’re going through. Talking it out can help make the urge pass.

 

BLOG POST CREATED BY VANESSA KEANE, DIETITIAN

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