Emotional eating is eating as a way to suppress or soothe emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness. Major life events, as well as the hassles of daily life, can trigger the emotions that lead to emotional eating which can disrupt your weight-loss efforts.
To help stop emotional eating, try these tips:
- Keep a food diary.Track what you eat, when, how much, how you’re feeling, and how hungry you are. Look for patterns that reveal a mood-food connection.
- Tame your stress. Try a stress management technique, such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing.
- Have a hunger reality check.If you ate just a few hours ago you’re probably not hungry. Give the craving time to pass.
- Get support. Lean on family and friends or consider joining a support group.
- Fight boredom.Instead of snacking when you’re not hungry, distract yourself and substitute a healthier activity such as take a walk, listen to music or read.
- Take away temptation.Don’t keep hard-to-resist comfort foods in your home.
- Don’t deprive yourself.Eat satisfying amounts of healthier foods, enjoy an occasional treat and get plenty of variety to help curb cravings.
- Snack healthy.Choose healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit, vegetables with low-fat dip, nuts or unbuttered popcorn.
- Learn from setbacks.If you have an episode of emotional eating, forgive yourself and start fresh the next day.