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Learn how to stop stress eating and practice mindful eating. Emotional eating is a damaging habit that overpowers so many individuals that can no longer hold back from their cravings. It can be caused by a stressing situation presented at work or problems in your love life. Whatever the issue, it will most likely lead you to the fridge to grab a bucket of ice cream. Many people turn to food as a way to relief stress. Learn how to stop stress eating and keep your cravings within normal limits.
Understanding Emotional Eating
Emotional eating, also known as stress or comfort eating, is described by the need to eat in order to fill emotional needs. Although food should rather fill the stomach and keep us well nourished, some people view it as a way to get relief, comfort, or even reward.
While it is not necessarily the worst habit one could possibly have, as using food as a pick me up from time to time can be beneficial, the problem arises when you become dependent on food to cheer yourself up. Whenever you open up the refrigerator just as a way to cure your dissatisfaction, anger, sadness, loneliness, or boredom, you get more and more drawn into an unhealthy lifestyle.
Do You Need Emotional Eating Help?
We are every so often in denial of the bad decisions we make and do not admit to a problem. Ask yourself the following:
Do you eat more when upset, stressed, or experiencing other negative emotions?
Do you eat even if you’re not hungry?
Do you view food as a reward?
Do you eat to feel more positive about various aspects of your life?
Do you view food as a friend in need?
Do you lack self-control in the presence of food?
If you as much as answered “yes” to one of these questions, then you might have a problem and you should continue reading our tips on how to stop stress eating.
Why You Can’t Stop Emotional Eating
There are many reasons you can’t stop nervous eating. Some are more common than other, and we are going to go over a few of them as a way to help you see what it is that you are doing wrong. Then, we can move on to how to stop stress eating.
Emotional eating can sometimes be the result of an individual’s unawareness. We are often done with our meal but continue to eat even if feeling full. If there is still food on the table, you too are most likely tempted to indulge in it although your stomach has filled up and your nutritious needs have been met.
If you were to ask any psychologist how do most of their patients see food, they would explain that some individuals see it as one of the few, if not the only, pleasures in life. After a stressful day at the gym, on the field, in the workplace, or an argument with a loved one, people often look forward to eating unnecessary amounts of sweets or junk food as a way to sooth their anger or pain. Scientific studies have shown that sugar and fats release opioids. These substances have soothing effects but can lead to a highly addictive eating habit.
Tolerating painful feeling can be difficult, especially if we don’t seek specialized help. Avoiding to speak about our issue or to act appropriately on healing ourselves is a major problem in our society. This is why we are susceptible to stress eating.
Body hate is also one of the main factors in comfort eating. The more shame you feel in respect to the way you look, the most likely you are to turn to food as a way to feel better about yourself.
How to Stop Stress Eating
Here’s how to stop emotional eating just by following the next 5 steps designed to break your eating patterns.
1. Find the real problem
As you may have realized so far, stress and eating are connected, and the triggering factors are unmet needs. Find the real issue behind your bad habit and work on resolving it. Don’t be shy or embarrassed to get specialized help.
2. Practice self-compassion
Emotional eating provides temporary relief from the dissatisfactions and unpleasantries of life. Some people overeat as a means to kill every bad feeling. While it might seem to be working at that particular moment, there is no long-term beneficial effect. Rather than getting angry about the things you cannot change, tell yourself that it is absolutely OK sometimes to feel sad. Your body should not have to defend itself from feelings, as our emotions are just a natural aspect of our life.
3. Eat when you are hungry
Nervous eaters eat at any time of time, regardless if they have just finished their meal. Emotional eaters are often overweight and struggle with health problems as a consequence. Don’t allow any more complications into your life. Fight your cravings and practice mindful eating.
4. Clean your house
The first step to fighting temptation is to stay away from it. Clean your house of any processed, highly caloric foods. We often grab a snack just because it right there in front of use. Fill your kitchen with fruits, vegetables, and healthy meals.
5. Keep a food journal
Write down what and when you eat. You may notice how you tend to overeat at a particular time. Once knowing when you’re most prone to fall into such temptations, you can look into ways you can keep your mind or body busy at that certain time and avoid eating.
Keeping a food journal will also open your eyes to the huge amount of unnecessary food you eat.
Emotional eating happens more often than you might think. The most important thing we must understand is that emotional gaps cannot be filled with food. Stress eating is considered a coping mechanism but not only is it inefficient in the long term, but it can also have serious repercussions.
Once you learn how to stop stress eating, you will be free to embrace your emotions naturally.
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