For emotional eaters, eating becomes disconnected from food or hunger. It becomes about soothing or suppressing emotions. It becomes a mechanism to regulate emotions, avoid unpleasant feelings or uplift your mood. The preceding is mainly why most people fail at dieting; we feel bad, eat to make it better, and then feel guilty for overeating – a vicious cycle. Yes, emotional eaters can recover!
We don’t always eat just to satisfy physical hunger. Many of us also turn to food for comfort, stress relief, or to reward ourselves. And when we do, we tend to reach for junk food, sweets, and other comforting but unhealthy foods.
Here are some of the most common emotional eating causes:
- To fill a void in your life
- You don’t have time for yourself
- You use food for comfort when you’re stressed, overwhelmed or powerless
- To overcome low self-esteem, depression or loneliness
- Lack of healthy coping skills for emotions
- Lack of healthy ways to address boredom
But don’t despair; there is a way out. By changing your eating habits, you can regain control over your feelings and, in turn, your emotions. Instead of looking at food as your initial coping means, find better, healthier ways to deal with stress and pressure, like exercise, therapy, and meditation. You’ll address the problem that’s bothering you and eliminate the control food has over you.
How to be More in Control
Here are some tips for you to follow to have a better relationship with food, start enjoying life and stop using food as a crutch for problems.
1. Put Yourself First
Nowadays, we need more time to think about making healthy choices because they take longer. As a result, we put everyone else’s needs before ours, especially women, which leaves us no time or energy. Be honest with yourself and those around you. It doesn’t mean you’re selfish, just smart.
2. Plan Ahead
Make a list of your ‘trigger foods’ so that you know what to avoid when you’re stressed or lonely. Then, once you know them, be prepared. Have healthy snacks ready with you at all times. Put fresh vegetables on the counter, in plain sight, and stock the fridge with ready-to-go nutritious foods.
3. Eat Only When You Are Hungry
Make healthy food a lifestyle choice rather than a temporary diet because dieting deprives you of things you crave, making you reach for the unhealthy as compensation. But when you stick to eating during hunger only, you teach your brain to reduce its cravings. As a result, you will start to lose weight. Also, chew thoroughly and take in every bite.
4. Make Everything Pleasurable
We often sacrifice pleasure for practicality and use food to give us that instant sense of pleasure. But it quickly fizzes and leaves us worse than before. Think of other ways to relieve stress and bring happiness into your life, like massages, bubble baths, reading, and going out – anything other than food. It’s a good idea to keep busy by filling your calendar with exciting, fun things to do.
5. Break The Mold
Be proud of your beauty and your body. We all could use more self-love. Even though we often blame the media, we are our own worst enemies when it comes to self-sabotage, hate, and body shaming. Be smart and use food to care for your body instead of drowning it in extra calories and shame.
A Final Tip
Don’t avoid your feelings and try to bury them with food. It may be scary and difficult at first, but once you take that first step, you start learning how to fix your emotional problems without the need to eat mindlessly.
Seeking the help of a trained mental health professional’s assistance can help recover from emotional eating. You don’t have to suffer alone or white knuckle it. Getting help is one of the most effective ways to recover.
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