Emotional Eating: Signs and How To Take Control

How to take control of emotional eating, emotional eating, how to stop emotional eating, how to beat emotional eating, binge eating, binge eating disorder, emotional eating signs

'Emotional eating is when people use food as a way to deal with feelings instead of to satisfy hunger.'

'Emotional eating is eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness, and loneliness. Major life events or, more commonly, the hassles of daily life can trigger negative emotions that lead to emotional eating.'

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Eating On Autopilot

I'm guilty of emotional eating as I'm sure a lot of people are. When I'm feeling down, I eat. When I'm feeling depressed I turn to food. It's something I've done as a coping mechanism for as long as I remember but I've found ways to manage my comfort eating so that it doesn't take control of me. Emotional eating can lead to binge eating and it's not based on hunger. A lot of the time when you're bingeing you end up 'blind eating' where you often won't remember what exactly you've eaten, it's almost like you've gone on autopilot.

You find that you can't sit down to watch TV without having something to eat in your hand. Eating becomes a hobby and a pastime and before you know it you've consumed so many calories without meaning to and you don't even feel full.

Food As A Coping Mechanism 

For most people, food is more than just a source of fuel. We go out to restaurants to indulge in delicious food, we get excited about what we're going to eat when we get home from work and love the thought of cooking up a delicious meal or dessert. It's normal to see food as something to indulge in now and again but it's a problem when you can't live without knowing you have access to comfort food. 

Food can be like a comfort blanket. As long as you know you have access to it, you feel calm and it can relieve stress when you eat. When I've had a stressful day at work I just want to come home and binge on lots of food. I've gotten used to food as a stress reliever and you need to unfamiliarize yourself with treating food as a coping mechanism.

Part of beating emotional eating is retraining your brain to find other coping mechanisms for stress and emotional eating and to no longer feel the need to turn to food as a coping aid.

How To Overcome Emotional Eating

Is there an alternative to food that can fix how I'm feeling? Think of other ways you can soothe the comfort you're trying to fix. Instead of filling the void with food, try an alternative like taking a long hot bath and reading a book, meditating or yoga, chatting with friends or family about your day, or finding a project to work on, like blogging!

Change what you're eating. A good way to phase out your comfort eating is to change what you're eating to healthier choices, such as hummus and carrot sticks instead of crisps, olives and tomatoes instead of fried foods, and fruit salad instead of sugary foods. Eat mindfully and find foods that you still love the taste of that are much better for you thank the usual comfort junk foods.

Get to the root of what's causing the emotional eating. Are you dealing with something that has caused your emotional eating? Has an emotional event triggered your emotional eating and gotten you into bad habits? Often mental health issues like depression will lead to emotional eating and the best way to take control of this is by speaking with a counselor. Have a chat with your doctor about starting some counseling sessions and you'll get back on track with your eating habits. You can also talk to a counselor online with BetterHelp, a confidential online counseling service.

Exercise. As much as you don't want to hear it, exercise has been one of the best ways to battle my emotional eating. I feel healthier in my mind and body after 30 minutes of exercise just a few times a week and it makes me want to not eat as much and actually take pride in my body and willpower. I don't exercise to lose lots of weight, but to feel more energetic and happier in myself, so give it a try and spend the time you would be eating by working out and getting a sweat on.

Speak to a licensed counselor online now with BetterHelp, where you can start talking to someone straight away.

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How to take control of emotional eating, emotional eating, how to stop emotional eating, how to beat emotional eating, binge eating, binge eating disorder, emotional eating signs

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