Emotional eating is a huge problem that many men and women struggle with. Emotional eating can be defined as eating food for any emotional reason besides hunger. You may be bored, stressed, scared, happy, or lonely. These are all emotions that aren’t necessarily related in any way except for the fact that they cause people to eat.
If you struggle with emotional eating, I hope the tips below will help you to slowly control the problem and get back to eating for physical health (instead of mental health).
Do something active
It is hard to eat when you are busy doing something else! So if you feel like you are grabbing food for a reason other than hunger, get out and do something. Do something physical like going to the gym or playing a sport. Or getting your hands busy with crafts or writing. If you hands are busy doing something else, you won’t be able to grab any food from the pantry.
Journal / Food journal
Start this now before emotional eating takes over your life (or if it already has, still start now). Journaling about your day will help you get your emotions out in a different way. If you are just starting to food journal, mention more than just the food you eat. Write what you eat, when you eat it, how fast you ate, who you ate with, and how you are feeling emotionally before, during and after the meal. This may seem obsessive. But when you do this, you will see what triggers your emotional eating. Knowing, and admitting, the problem is the first step.
Talk to someone
Talk to a friend, coworker, or therapist about your emotional eating. Keeping emotions bottled up is what causes overeating (or other self-destructive habits), so talk it out with someone you trust.
Check in with your feelings often
Before every meal or snack stop and think about how you are feeling. It is a good time for reflection. Are you having a good day, a stressful day, or are you bored? If you are food journaling you should already be thinking about these things, but regardless of whether you journal the feelings, you should still be aware of them.