How to Cope with Emotional Eating
We always hear to eat when we’re hungry and stop when we’re full, but is it really that simple? Not really! Sometimes we eat just because we’re bored, or sad, or simply stressed out. Food can definitely be comforting in times when emotions are running high, but there are some other options to turn to if you feel like emotional eating is something you struggle with.
Move your body!
Exercise and moving your body in general is one of the best ways to cope with stress! Not only can something like a trip to the gym or a long walk be beneficial in the current moment, but overall consistent exercise has been linked to less symptoms of anxiety and stress and a better overall sense of well being. Try making a daily walk a habit, or doing something as simple as following a 30 minute at home youtube workout!
Meditate or read a book
If you often feel stressed or anxious, try doing activities that can help you feel calmer. Meditation is a common way to relax and allow you to slow down and become more in touch with what it is that is causing you distress. Reading a book is also an option to get out of your own head for a little bit. Doing activities like these first before turning to food may help you understand whether or not you’re actually hungry.Try setting a goal of 5m in of meditation per day if you think this will be helpful.
Choose to eat mindfully
At the end of the day, even if you aren’t hungry, you may simply still want to eat due to cravings, emotional triggers, or other reasons! That’s okay too, but there are things to keep in mind to keep you feeling your healthiest in times like this.
Eating without distractions and eating mindfully are two ways to not let emotional eating take control. Eating with distractions such as a television show or watching videos on your phone often leads to overeating. When turning to food for emotional comfort the best thing to do is to be present in the moment with yourself and your emotions. Choose food that makes you feel your best but is also enjoyable to you. This might be something like fresh fruit, but it can also be something like ice cream. There are no foods off limits when it comes to a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
Food is fuel! But food is also joy, memories, comfort and pleasure. The most important thing to remember is that you are in control of what you eat and how you eat, your diet and food choices should never be an added layer of stress in an already stressful life!
Learn how to navigate emotional eating by scheduling a free call with Alli here.
This article was written by Lindsey Moser, nutrition intern. Fact checked by Allison Tallman RD.