3 Effective Strategies to Overcome Emotional Eating

3 Effective Strategies to Overcome Emotional Eating

Emotional eating can lead to poor eating habits and weight gain. Effective strategies to overcome such behavior are necessary to break this unhealthy cycle.

If you find yourself eating in response to stress, boredom, or negative emotions, you may suffer from emotional eating.  Eating under these circumstances may provide solace or temporary pleasure.  However, it can also lead to unhealthy eating habits and weight gain.  The first step to overcoming this cycle is recognizing the problem and deciding that you want to do something about it. 

If you want to overcome emotional eating, here are three actionable strategies that have been shown to be effective:

First, a powerful strategy is to practice mindful eating.  What this means is that you pay attention to the present moment so you are aware of your body’s signals, emotions, and thoughts when eating.  You can do this in a variety of ways such as pausing and reflecting on your emotional state before reaching for food to ensure you really are hungry; when you eat engage your senses so you notice the appearance and flavors of your food while taking small bites and savoring the taste – in this way, you are often satisfied with smaller amounts of food; and pay attention to your body’s signals for hunger as well as feelings of fullness Eat when you are truly hungry and stop when you feel satisfied.  Note that it can take up to 20 minutes for the message to go from your stomach to your brain to let it know you are full.  Setting your fork down in between bites can help you to slow down your eating pattern.

Second, focus on healthy coping mechanisms when you are feeling stress, anxiety or sadness. This will help you to break your cycle of emotional eating.  You can do this in many ways such as: engaging in other activities that can distract you when you feel overwhelmed such as a walk, meditation, deep breathing or a hobby you enjoy; reach out to supportive friends or family when you are experiencing emotions that result in mindless eating; and practice self-care for relaxation and well-being such as a warm bath, yoga or non-food related activities you enjoy.

Third, surround yourself with people and conditions that will help foster and reinforce the habits that will help you overcome emotional eating.  This can be accomplished by sharing your habits and goals with people that will provide encouragement as well as accountability. You should also try to remove or minimize the triggers that contribute to your emotional eating such as tempting stacks, stores, restaurants, or situations.  At the same time, you can keep healthier food alternatives handy for when familiar cravings or temptations arise.  Finally, be kind and forgiving to yourself.  Developing new habits takes time.  Celebrate small wins that lead to bigger results.

Implementing these strategies can help you overcome emotional eating.  Having a supportive medical weight loss program and – if needed – weight loss medications can help as well.  If you want accountability and an easy to follow plan – or desire more information – visit our website at www.healthymeweightloss.com