You can hear people saying they lose weight when they are stressed, but unfortunately, most people gain weight because of stress and the most common reason is emotional eating.
What is emotional eating?
Emotional eating means eating even when you are not hungry, finding comfort in food when you are sad, lonely, depressed, jealous or you want to award yourself with food.
We all sometimes eat when we aren’t hungry, but there are certain signs that show you might have a problem.
One of the signs can be your weight increasing on the scales and your diet changing for the worse.
You are more likely to choose less healthy ingredients.
Many people in this situation struggle to find answers, why they can’t stick to their diet, why they gain back the weight they lost, and how come they can’t resist food.
However, you shouldn’t focus on your diet but you should work on yourself because that’s where all the answers lie.
Why does emotional eating occur?
There’s a connection between our emotions and the food we are eating, whether we are aware of that or not.
When people feel lonely, angry, or frustrated after fighting with their partner, or after having a horrible day at work, they tend to reach for comfort food that will help them feel better. (1)
Comfort food isn’t usually healthy nor nutritious (sweets, chocolate, chips, snacks, brownies) and combined with no physical activity can lead to increasing your weight.
So, how to stop emotional eating – 7 Best tips:
1. Taste your food
When it comes to obsessive overeating, people usually eat too fast.
And that means that they can’t taste the food properly.
Therefore, sit down and eat slowly, taste your food with every bite you take.
You will notice that the taste is most intense during the first 10 bites and afterward it’s less intense.
This technique can help you eat much less food than usual.
2. Remember- you control your mind
You might not feel like that but bear in mind that the intake of food depends 100% on you.
You can always control what you eat and what you don’t eat.
Will you feel better or worse after overeating?
What makes you overeat?
Whatever you decide, be aware that you have a choice.
And you can always do differently.
3. Start exercising
Do some kind of exercise that you like.
It’s important to choose something you really enjoy so that you stay motivated and keep doing your exercise.
You can dance, swim, do yoga, Pilates, Aerobics, fitness, walk in nature…
Exercising every day relieves stress and makes you feel more positive which gives you the strength to avoid unhealthy food.
4. Eat healthily
Eat healthy, whole grain ingredients like green leafy vegetables, wholegrain cereals, fruit, vegetables, and ingredients high in healthy fat.
That will stop you from craving unhealthy food and it will help you feel full.
5. Ask yourself are you really hungry
We all have this kind of moments.
The thing is what you do in the end.
When you start feeling hungry, try to figure out are you really hungry or you are just craving some kind of food. (2)
We all sometimes eat when we aren’t hungry, that’s normal.
The problem is when you start doing that often and you overeat.
Another way to see if you are really hungry is to try to imagine a few different ingredients or dishes and if it doesn’t matter to you which you will eat, then you are probably hungry.
But, if you strictly want a certain dish or ingredient then it’s most probably craving.
6. Sleep well
A lack of sleep can increase your hunger by reducing the levels of leptin, the hormone which regulates your appetite.
Sleeping well will help you feel rested and more determined to fight cravings and overeating.
You can read why is sleeping important for weight loss here.
7. Start a food diary
Write a diary about food and your emotions to see how you progress.
It will help you identify your toughest period during the day.
You will also become more responsible so you will probably stay away from unhealthy snacks.
So, what’s the bottom line?
All of these tips should help you redirect your thoughts and emotions from comfort food to positive activities that will bring joy and get rid of negative emotions.
But, to solve the problem of your emotional overeating you may need to change your lifestyle or your reactions to events and people around you.
Also, it’s important not to forget that you are not alone in this, there is a big number of people dealing with the same problem.
Talk about it with your friends and family.
Eventually, talk to a professional.
And be proud that you made the first step in solving this problem and taking care of yourself.