How to Handle Emotional Eating

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Picture this: You hit the snooze button one too many times, had a last minute project thrown at you at work, and then sat in an hour of evening traffic. 

Finally home, you breathe a sigh of relief, head into the kitchen, and decide you deserve a snack after the day you’ve had. Maybe you reach for a few crackers, then a bit of chocolate. Before you know it, you’ve munched your way through the entire kitchen without eating a proper meal. You’re stuffed, ashamed, and wondering what the heck just happened - WTF?!

Sound familiar?

It’s called emotional eating, and in a nutshell, it is eating for any other reason besides actual physical hunger, fuel, or nourishment.

3 Trademarks of Emotional Eating

  • Binging - usually on high-sugar and carbohydrate-rich comfort foods (i.e., junk food). How many people do you know who reach for avocado and apples when they’re upset? Guac and chips doesn’t count.

  • Mindlessly eating – you’re not aware of what or how much you’re eating or how those foods are making your body feel.

  • Eating to numb, soothe, please, relax, or reward self - you know, the “I had a bad day and deserve it” kind of thinking. Eating during these times provides temporary relief, but often leaves you feeling worse than where you started!

The trouble with emotional eating is it overrides your body’s natural hunger cycle and can promote things like:

  • weight gain

  • an increase in your risk for inflammation and chronic disease

  • an unhealthy relationship between you and food

  • more dangerous types of disordered eating

What Triggers Emotional Eating?

Even though it’s called “emotional eating” because people often reach for food to cope with their feelings, there are a lot of other non-hunger reasons that can prompt you to eat.

Some common non-hunger reasons include:

  • Uncomfortable emotions, like anger, guilt, fear, and sadness

  • Stress

  • Boredom

  • Need to feel pleasure and/or comfort

6 Tips to Help You Get a Handle on Emotional Eating...for good!

If any of those scenarios sound familiar, know that you’re not alone! Emotional eating affects a lot of people at one point or another. Yep, even me. 

1. Have a non-food outlet to process uncomfortable feelings. Try journaling, exercising, or talking to a trusted friend or counselor

2. Manage stress.  Exercise, meditation, deep breathing, getting enough sleep, and not taking on more than you can realistically handle can help decrease stress levels.

 3. Recognize boredom. Call a friend, take a walk, pick up a book, or tackle a DIY project or hobby you’ll enjoy when you know boredom is likely to strike.

 4. Practice self-care. Pamper yourself with a bubble bath, manicure, or curl up with a good book - whatever makes you feel good!

 5. Practice mindful eating, Avoid distractions at meals. Your focus should be on the food in front of you.       Eat slowly, chew, and savor each bite. This helps give your body time to receive the signal from your brain when it’s full. Stop eating when you feel full.

 6. Eat a balanced diet. The majority of your diet should be nutrient-dense whole foods. Allow for occasional treats and indulgences so you don’t feel deprived. Include protein, fiber, and healthy fat at each meal to promote satiety.

Self-Love Challenge

Self-love.You hear the term all the time, but have you been able to tap into what that means for you?

The truth is that we’re exhausted.

We’re tired way beyond sleep deprivation.

Our hearts are overworked, and we need to get to the bottom of it.

Imagine speaking to yourself with kindness...the way you do a best friend, so you create more good-feeling moments instead of guilt.

Imagine stopping those negative thoughts right in their tracks, before they seep into your heart and you begin to believe them.

Imagine setting boundaries to protect yourself from the stress that's weighing you down, so you can finally feel lighter and more fulfilled.

We have so much to unpack, and we're doing just that in this FREE 7-day Self-Love Challenge.

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