Gaining Control of Emotional EatingPosted: Mar 12 in Health And Wellness by Dr. Lazarus
One of the most difficult obstacles a person might face when trying to lose weight is emotional eating. Emotional eating is eating for any reason other than hunger—i.e. boredom, stress, sadness. Letting your emotions affect your eating habits can be detrimental to your weight loss efforts. The relief you get from emotional eating rarely lasts long and may even turn into guilt. Discovering the differences between physical and emotional hunger can help you control your emotional eating.
Noticing Emotional Eating
These are some of the key differences between emotional hunger and physical hunger.
- Physical hunger occurs gradually, while emotional hunger is sudden.
- Emotional hunger can make you feel like you need to satisfy it immediately, while physical hunger can usually wait.
- Emotional eating often leaves you feeling guilty, while physical hunger should not.
- When you’re emotionally hungry, you’re likely to continue eating even after you feel full. When you’re eating because you’re physically hungry, you’re likely to stop after you feel full.
Controlling Emotional Eating
If you’ve found that you succumb to emotional eating, don’t worry, as there are steps you can take to get it under control and put your weight loss efforts back on track. Here are some ways you can do just that:
- Learning proper stress management techniques. Since emotional eating often occurs as a result of stress or other negative emotions, practicing stress management can eliminate emotional eating at its source. Some ways to manage stress include yoga, meditative and relaxation techniques and going for walks.
- Keeping a food journal. Use this to keep track of what you’re eating, why you’re eating and how you feel when you’re eating. When it’s written down, it’s much easier to see patterns and triggers that relate to emotional eating.
- Get rid of any temptations. If you’re going through medical weight loss, it’s already a bad idea to have comfort foods like sugary snacks around the house. Keeping these things out of your cupboard can make it easier to avoid emotional eating.