Mar 07

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Taking Control of Emotional Eating

Taking Control of Emotional Eating


Taking Control of Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is the use of food for other purposes that go beyond hunger. It is defined as the desire to use food to feel better, deal with stress or give a reward. The American Psychological Association reveals that 38 percent of adults overeat because of stress. In addition, these adults share that overeating and eating unhealthy food has become a habit that helps them deal with stress.

Although stress is one of the most common reasons for emotional eating, it is not the only factor. The Mayo Clinic reports that relationship problems, fatigue, financial worries and health issues can also play a role. In addition, emotional eating can be used as a distraction or a reward system. However, generally negative emotions are at the center of the problem.

Consider these steps to take control of your emotional eating:

1. Identify Your Triggers
What compels you to overeat or turn to unhealthy food? It is important to identify your emotional triggers and evaluate how you deal with them. You cannot make changes without paying attention to the problems.

2. Use Self-Compassion
You may be tempted to rebuke yourself for eating during an emotional time, but it is better to have compassion. You want to approach the problems from a gentle perspective because adding more guilt and shame will not help you.

3. Find Alternatives
What can you do instead of eating ice cream, chocolate or chips during a stressful episode of your life? You want to find easy alternatives that help you fight stress and other negative emotions. You may want to consider exercise, reading a book or calling a friend. You can also replace the unhealthy food in your house with better options, so you are not tempted to reach for them. The key is to find a way to deal with your emotions without overeating.

Let me know in the comments what helps you!

Permanent link to this article: https://inspiringwordsfromtheheart.com/taking-control-of-emotional-eating/


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  1. 1
    Kelly Simpson

    Thank you for this post its very helpful. I tend to over eat due to my emotions so thanks for the tips to control this habit will try them out.

  2. 2

    I also eat when I’m bored. Yesterday I worked at the election polls and I wanted to snack all day!

  3. 3
    Jess @ Tinder District

    Great post! My favorite alternative is to pull out an adult coloring book, or paint my nails 🙂

    1. 3.1

      Thanks for sharing what helps you Jess.

  4. 4
    Debbie Welchert

    I am definitely an emotional eater. I would like to start a journal to help me see when and why I eat like I do. Thanks for the suggestions.

    1. 4.1

      Great idea to start a journal to find your triggers.

  5. 5
    Alicia Hewitt

    This was an informative article. I struggle with emotional eating, and its hard to deal with sometimes.

  6. 6
    Elaine Lund

    Great post! I try not to buy the cookies and chips. If they are not in the cabinet then I can’t eat them. I also try to keep busy with my crafting to keep my mind off food if I’m not hungry. It’s hard when you have an eating disorder triggered by those mentioned above.

    1. 6.1

      Thanks for sharing what helps you Elaine. I too have to not buy cookies and chips!

  7. 7
    laurie damrose

    When I want to eat sometimes I go out for a long walk.

  8. 8
    lindsey stuart

    This was an interesting read! Comfort eating certainly doesn’t make me feel good

  9. 9
    alicia szemon

    I feel that i eat more when i am just bored. Don’t know how to stop that behavior.

  10. 10
    Starla B

    This is very helpful as I have been going through alot of emotional issues since December with my grandmother. I find this being myself sometimes and it’s so tough. Thanks for your tips!

  11. 11
    Kimberly Lynn

    I needed this! I have problems with emotional eating. Thank you!

  12. 12

    I have to be in the right frame of mind…I also chew gum, drink tea, or have a small bite of something!

  13. 13

    Thankfully I don’t have emotional eating but that’s only because I’m extremely disciplined when it comes to food (was anorexic & bulemic for 40 years). I do find though that when I’m very tired, weary, I reach for carbs when what I really should do is get a decent night’s sleep. Tiredness also affects my asthma funnily enough.

    1. 13.1

      I’m glad you are got your anorexia and bulemia under control.

  14. 14
    Irene Pilato

    Whenever i feel the urge to eat I try to dring water or tea, but sometimes that’s not helping either. 🙁

    1. 14.1

      Sometimes you need to chew… air popped popcorn is a good choice. Low calories and lots of fiber 🙂

  15. 15

    I used to be obese. I lost 92 pounds in 2013, and now I am just slightly overweight. I struggle with emotional eating. It never goes away, but I try to manage it. Always try to see if you can find someone you can trust to talk to about what’s going on in your life. It’s helped me a lot.

    1. 15.1

      thats great advice to find someone to confide in you can trust! I know that talking things out can really help keep me from grabbing for candy or chips.

  16. 16

    I tend to eat when frustrated – I haven’t been able to eliminate the behavior completely, but I have substituted fruit for candy!

    1. 16.1

      I am an emotional eater and it is hard. I think you are doing very good to substitute fruit for candy! Very healthy

  17. 17
    Nancy Burgess

    Great article thanks for the ideas.

  18. 18
    John Thuku

    Thank you for posting this. I tend to find myself sometimes eating when I am not really that hungry. Who knew it was emotional eating?

  19. 19
    laurie damrose

    thank you for this.

  20. 20
    samir hmdme

    great great article! i’m an emotional eater so yeah, i like reading those kind of articles.

  21. 21

    This is a great problem for a lot of people. Thank you for this info

  22. 22
    roseann archer

    i think it happens often my boyfriend is almost 300 lbs now and i dont see any stop any time soon what can i do to stop him?

    1. 22.1

      You can encourage low calorie snacking…. It’s hard when he’s not ready to monitor his eating.

  23. 23
    Lena P.

    These are some great tips! thank you! I try to hit the gym when I’m under stress even though sometimes it’s the last thing I want to do. But usually that helps ease the stress and urge to eat junk.

    1. 23.1

      You sound very disciplined Lena! Good for you – even a walk in the neighborhood can help.

  24. 24
    Madeleine Kochevar

    very helpful! I hope to lose weight with these tips

  25. 25
    veronica lee

    I am an emotional eater too. I knit when I’m tempted to snack.

    1. 25.1

      What a good way to occupy your hands! Thanks for sharing Veronica Lee.

  26. 26
    Jennifer George

    Thanks for this post. I tend to want to eat when I’m bored or stressed.

  27. 27
    Mary (Hephzibah) Adelaja

    Whenever I feel that way, I try to reach for fruits as my healthy alternative 🙂

  28. 28
    Mary (Hephzibah) Adelaja

    Fruits are my healthy alternative

  29. 29
    Jo-Ann Brightman

    I definitely want to eat when I am feeling stressed. I try to make the treat part of a meal so that I can relax and enjoy it.

  30. 30

    these were all great points. Whenever I feel like emotional eating, I try to just take a beat and evaluate the situation. Then I try to drink water, eat some fruit and chill out . that usually helps

    stop by and chat with me ♥ http://storybookapothecary.com

  31. 31

    I definitely eat when stressed. I like the 3 tips to help, especially self compassion.

  32. 32

    I eat when I’m bored

  33. 33
    Margaret Gallagher

    Thanks self compassion is vital as if you are loathing yourself it so hard to focus and have control of what you eat

  34. 34
    Terri Irvin

    I tend to nibble when I am bored, so I had to learn to take up a lot of hobbies, that are not always around food. I find keeping really busy helps me not just pick all day. I do love to bake but never eat when I am doing that so it seems safe. Watching the TV is the worse so I try to avoid it!

  35. 35
    ellen beck

    I eat when I am bored and sometimes when frustrated. I will try and just do something else or get as far from the kitchen as I can. Actually washing my hands or face works too.

  36. 36
    Sarah L

    I’ve never been an emotional eater. Lucky that way.

  37. 37
    Divyajit Vaghela

    My friends need to read this

  38. 38
    Donna B

    I am an emotional eater too. I try to keep busy with other things to keep my mind off eating. Thanks for this post. I enjoyed reading it.

    1. 38.1

      Appreciate your comments Donna B

  39. 39
    Deb E

    I know one of my triggers is lack of sleep, so when I do miss my rest, I write in my journal as a reminder to not mindlessly eat. Giving up sugar has done wonders for my emotional eating. I think of it as a poison for my body and just say no. It’s something to work on daily for sure.

    1. 39.1

      Thanks for sharing how you handle sugar Deb E. I have a friend with cancer who thinks of dairy that way for her cancer.

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