Overcoming emotional eating is a significant concern for many people focused on improving their fitness and health. In fact, 66% of women who responded to a recent survey conducted by Precision Nutrition said that emotional eating is an area where they need the most guidance.
If you struggle with emotional eating, here are some helpful hints compiled by Strand Fitness…
Tips to Combat Emotional Eating
Identify Your Triggers
A quick way to identify your triggers is to ask yourself what you were doing/thinking right before you thought about or found yourself eating.
If a particular thought pattern is the culprit, brainstorm new thought patterns or new perspectives to your circumstance. If you find yourself eating in response to being overworked or stressed, try resolving what makes you overworked or using a stress management technique like yoga or meditation. If you eat out of boredom, find a healthier response like calling a friend.
Have a “Hunger Reality Check”
When you have the desire to eat, ask yourself if you are hungry or if you are having an emotional craving.
If you are truly hungry, eat a healthy meal or snack. If it is an emotional craving, deal with the emotion.
Before eating, decide if the foods that you are choosing are going to shift your emotions for the better. If not, don’t eat them.
Being mindful can help prevent eating too much. As you prepare to eat, think about where your food came from, how it was made, who made it, what its ingredients are, and what nutrients and nourishment it has to give you. Savor each bite, enjoying the color, the texture, and the aroma. As you learn to eat slowly and with awareness, you will begin to recognize the feeling of being full and satisfied before you have over indulged.
Thirst or being slightly dehydrated can cause us to crave food. Curb cravings by starting your day with water and make sure to have plenty of fluids throughout the day.
Get Your Rest
Proper sleep (7.5 hours for the average healthy adult) can prevent emotional eating. Sleep deprivation can disrupt your body’s mechanisms to regulate emotions and appetite, triggering a craving for foods that deliver quick boosts – aka SUGAR!
Eat the Right Nutrients
Crankiness, irritability, and mood swings can be your body’s response to poor nutrition. For example, a low carb diet can cause you to be cranky. Too much sugar can create spouts of high energy followed by lethargy. If you aren’t getting enough healthy fats, your nervous system can be stressed and hormonal production disrupted.
Physical activity can soothe the emotions and provide an alternative response to stressful emotions. Instead of eating, try jump roping, jumping jacks, squats, or doing the twist!
If your emotions have you reaching for the fridge, distract yourself. This “distraction” could be as simple as closing your eyes for 30 seconds and visualizing your favorite vacation spot or doing a three minute, quick clean-up around your house.
Keep your kitchens stocked with wholesome foods. That way if you reach for something, it will be a healthier option. For example, if you have a sweet tooth, keep fruit handy. As always, keep the portions reasonable.
Don’t Deprive Yourself
If you are working on a healthier diet, don’t ban foods that you really enjoy. Let yourself enjoy an occasional treat. “Banning” foods can escalate temptation.
Learn from Setbacks
If you have an episode of emotional eating, forgive yourself and start fresh the next moment. Try to learn from the experience and make a plan for how you can prevent it in the future. Focus on the positive changes you’re making in your eating habits.
Surround yourself with positive energy and be around people who build you up and can help solve problems. Get the support and motivation you need with a fitness trainer.
Have questions? Ask your trainer! Don’t have a trainer at Strand Fitness? Schedule a free consultation with Pam (email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 630-653-8152) and discover how to look and feel better!