If you are an emotional eater, you realize it’s a vicious cycle. You eat to deal with stress, sadness, or other emotions – but it ends up making you feel worse. Here are some ways to cope:
DELAY THE URGE
If you can delay the urge to eat, for even just ten minutes, it usually will pass. In the interim, do something to distract yourself and practice self-care– brush your teeth, give yourself a facial, paint your nails, or call a friend. Replacing the habit with a healthier one, in times, reprograms neurological pathways.
CHUG SOME h20
Pour yourself a BIG glass of water 12-24 ounces and drink that before you allow yourself to eat. Hunger could be a sign that you’re actually thirsty- the two are sometimes confused.
If you remove all foods from your home that you typically binge on – ice cream, chips, cookies, etc. you will force yourself to find other, healthier ways to cope.
USE A REPLACEMENT SNACK
It’s hard to overeat carrot or celery sticks. If you have to munch, do it with something that will be GOOD for you instead of cause further damage.
SAVOR YOUR FOOD
When you truly are hungry, practice mindful eating. Savor what you have. Appreciate it. Learn to stop BEFORE you are full. Eventually, consciously eating becomes habit and you’re less likely to binge.
IDENTIFY YOUR TRIGGERS
Each time you feel the onset of a binge/emotional eating session, go sit quietly and ask yourself what emotions/situations brought on the urge to eat.
DEAL WITH THE UNDERLYING EMOTIONS
Remind yourself that it’s not about the food, but about your feelings. The only way out is through truly dealing with the underlying emotions. Start a journal. Write down your triggers, and elaborate on how those triggers make you feel.
Realize that overeating is a form of self care, albeit a destructive one. Overcoming emotional eating requires a big dose of forgiveness and grace. Practice that daily.