Emotional eating is something that we can all get hit by and is something that we need to understand the triggers of and how to deal with. I tend to be a pretty emotional guy but I never seem to fall into the trap of emotional eating which can involve people eating large amounts of food to comfort themselves and get rid of the bad or tough feelings and situations that we can run into in everyday life.
The trouble is that often emotional eating can be caused by bad feelings about our weight and self image and we sabotage ourselves using food as a short term fix.
How Does Emotional Eating Start?
There are really five kinds of situations where we can get triggered emotionally and that may lead to emotional eating. (Thanks to medicinenet for these). Knowing the causes can really help us learn how to stop emotional eating.
Social – Eating when around other people. For example, excessive eating can result from being encouraged by others to eat; eating to fit in; arguing; or feelings of inadequacy around other people.
Emotional – Eating in response to boredom, stress, fatigue, tension, depression, anger, anxiety or loneliness as a way to “fill the void.”
Situational – Eating because the opportunity is there. For example, at a restaurant, seeing an advertisement for a particular food, passing by a bakery. Eating may also be associated with certain activities such as watching TV, going to the movies or a sporting event, etc.
Thoughts – Eating as a result of negative self-worth or making excuses for eating. For example, scolding oneself for looks or a lack of will power.
Physiological – Eating in response to physical cues. For example, increased hunger due to skipping meals or eating to cure headaches or other pain.
And what do many people do? Grab a tub of ice cream or cookies or other comfort food to try to make feeling bad feel better. If you are not in the situation this can seem crazy but in the situation and doing this emotional eating will feel really natural. Trying to fill a void with the great feelings of yummy food.
Trouble is yummy food can not fix a problem.
How to Stop Emotional Eating
OK, now that we know the why it is much easier to figure out the how to stop emotional eating. So the best and really only thing that you can do is to distract yourself. I have found myself that there is no talking yourself or reasoning yourself out of an emotional problem or issue so a good distraction until your emotions go away and you can reason things is much better. Here are a few things you can do:
Watch some light TV – Get yourself out of the thought pattern that is causing your emotional distress
Talk to a friend about their problems – problem solving not your stuff but someone elses will get your mind fixing something else
Go and exercise – This can be a crutch in itself but really if you can concentrate on the issue of the exercise hopefully it switches the emotion to another issue
You can see from above that these are just a few things that you can do, there are a multitude more but the real idea is to get away from what is causing you pain right now. and then a few minutes or hours later you can revisit the problem in a detached way and find real solutions to your problems.
We all get too close to our own issues emotionally and blow them up so that they are insurmountable. By breaking away from our emotional explosions we can get some distance and avoid the emotional eating that can be so dangerous to our psyche and our eating goals.
How to stop emotional eating all comes down not to controlling your emotions but getting a distance from them until you can deal with the underlying problem.