Emotional eating is as common as the common cold. It is also called stress eating, or comfort eating. Emotional hunger is real, but you can do something about it. Almost everyone does it at sometime or another, but the key is not doing it all the time.
Emotional eating can lead to eating too much high calorie food, which leads to weight gain. I say reduce it, not stop it. Stopping it completely is an impossible task.
Overeating can lead to stress, and stress can lead to overeating. It’s a vicious cycle that can be hard to break. I am and always been an emotional eater. I am overweight and overeat. Constant overeating is the biggest cause of weight gain or being unable to lose weight
Prepare for a Journey
I am excited to add this topic as one of the categories I choose to write about. I am overweight and in the process of losing weight. This a journey that I am on, and I have decided to share it with you, my readers. We can keep each other accountable. We can do it together, whether you want to lose weight or just reduce emotional eating.
If you have an eating disorder like bulimia, anorexia, or habitual binging, you may need professional help from a therapist. I am not a therapist or mental health professional. Journaling can be done along with therapy.
I have tried many diets, but diets do not seem to work for me. I am a vegan, but I need to make better healthy choices (not a real diet). I have lost 8 pounds in 5 months following my tips below. Veganhood may have helped me, but it is still possible to gain weight on a vegan diet. I have done this in the past.
I believe diets do not work. I was counting how many times I ate, and I was eating more then. Now I do not count, but eat when I am hungry. I ate much more when I was dieting than I do now.
How important is exercise?
I think moving your body is so important for health and mental well-being. You need pick exercises you like, or at least, do not mind. I was exercising 30 minutes a day. A month ago, I came down with vertigo and chronic dizziness so now I am not able to exercise (except for some walking). Even with walking, I need to be careful so I don’t fall.
Right now, I find limiting the junk food I have in the house helps tremendously, sometimes only getting single servings.
Diets can cause more cravings for junk food, especially if you deny yourself food. If you not eat when you are hungry, you may eat more later or even binge on junk foods.
Emotional Eating Help
- Eat when I am hungry, but a bit smaller amounts than usual.
- Weigh myself once a week or twice a month.
- Found something called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Tapping to help with cravings (Google it to find out more)
- Exercise 30 minutes a day.
- Try to eat healthy, but I am far from perfect with this.
- Use a journal to record my moods and cravings
- Do urge surfing (sitting with negative thoughts and feelings). I pretend that I am riding my distress like I would if I was surfing on ocean waves.
- Pick a hobby that enjoy I enjoy to distract myself.
- Do not skip meals or eat too little.
- Choose an activity to reduce stress in life (like mindfulness, walking or yoga)
- Journal about my cravings and moods (turn to my journal first, and do a brain dump).
How can I stop eating when stressed?
It takes time to reduce comfort eating. It is not easy. I say reduce it, not end it because that is impossible. I give you this challenge: pick one thing on my list to practice this week.
Leave a comment, if you accept this challenge. Tell us which activity you chose. This week, I choose I urge surfing.
Why do you overeat? Journal on your emotions. Keep a food diary to measure how much and how often you overeat. I hate food journaling, but studies show food journalers lose more weight than non-food journalers.
My goal this week is to eat in smaller amounts and do urge surfing when I want to eat emotionally.
How do I stop emotional eating and losing weight?
What triggers emotional eating?
- Stress and Stressors (Which Can Be Anything)
- Displaced Anger
- Victim Mentality
- Lack of Emotional Support
Why is emotional eating harmful?
- It can lead to becoming overweight or having a real eating disorder
- It can lead to a vicious cycle
- It can lead to unhealthy yo-yo dieting
- It can lead to low self-esteem
- It can lead to despair and helplessness
Action Steps to Reduce Emotional Eating
- Create a goal for this month (example: eat only when you are hungry).
- Answer why you chose this goal (what is the payoff?).
- Do not reach for food when you have a craving. Instead grab your journal or any paper and ask yourself “why am I hungry?”. Are you hungry for something other than food? If so, why? Then decide what you want to do.
- Write out 5 to 10 action steps.
- Be specific and write what you can do to complete these action steps.
- Write each step on your calendar or planner.
- Start a journal, and write about stressors and your emotions. If you want to eat emotionally, write about it and wait 20 to 30 minutes to eat.
- Eat mindfully and slowly. Taste and savor your food no matter what it is.
- Journal about what is the payoff of emotional eating or being overweight? Why do you stop and do what you want?
- Decide how you can eat healthier and move your body without torture.
- Identify the causes.
- Identify your triggers.
- Create a routine.
- Plan your meals.
- Seek emotional support.
- Learn to de-stress.
- Eat regularly throughout the day.
- Include proteins in every meal.
- Drink plenty of water ( you need to drink more).
- Find exercises you like and move ( you need to do this).
Leave a comment to let me know what you think, and if you accept this challenge. Tell us which activity you chose. This week, I choose I urge surfing.