Emotional eating is part of the human condition and, even the most disciplined and health conscious men and women can succumb from time to time.
So what is emotional eating? Most commonly, it’s defined as eating for reasons other than hunger, and it can be a major saboteur in our attempts to both lose, or maintain, weight.
The key to understanding it is to make time to recognise your emotional eating triggers, and then you’ll be able to take back control of your diet.
What are your triggers? We can turn to food when we feel:
Do you eat more at work because of the pressures, or in social situations where you feel more anxious? Do you eat when you’re bored or lonely? For many of us, emotional eating is such an ingrained habit that we’re not even aware of when, what or why we’re doing it.
An important tool in trying to both understand, and be aware, of it is to keep a food diary. Do this initially for 7 days so that you have a picture of a full week which will include work, rest and play. I guarantee that the results will give you an important insight into your eating habits, and pave the way for a strategy to take back control.
Here are some ideas to help cope with feelings that can lead to emotional eating:
- Exercise – helps to relieve stress, promote energy and help you to feel really good about yourself.
- Drink Water – sometimes thirst is mistaken for hunger. Keep a bottle with you to sip regularly.
- Walk – there doesn’t have to be a goal or distance, just move and you’ll be amazed how it can clear the mind. No matter what the weather, get outside and walk.
- Listen to Music – it can be a great way to sooth yourself when you’re stressed, bored or tired.
- Try Yoga – to relax body and mind.
Autumn is in full swing, the days are drawing in, and the Christmas party season is just around the corner so this may seem like the worst time of year to start to work on emotional eating – in fact it’s the best time! Changing eating habits will take some time and patience, but this is a great time of year to start to get control of your eating and learn how to handle your emotions without food.