Are you ‘an emotional eater’?
There are so many people out there who are, including me. It is very common.
There are steps that we can take to improve this situation.
What starts you off? Is it perhaps stress? You get stressed out and you find yourself craving something sweet or salty or fried?
You respond by eating something like this and you get that little burst of pleasure from the dopamine kick we talked about yesterday,
Do you eat from boredom? When you have a feeling of emptiness? You feel that you need to fill a void?
Is it emotions that trigger you? Do you eat when you are sad? Or lonely? or feeling shame?
Do you find that eating helps numb your emotions for a while, bringing you some temporary relief?
Perhaps you have picked up the habit in childhood?
Did you get rewarded with sweets or other edible ‘treats’ for good behaviour or good grades?
Were you given sweets to cheer you up, or chocolate when you had to face something unpleasant?
Eating out with friends and family is a good, wholesome thing to do but sometimes we may feel we shouldn’t be eating this or that.
Sometimes these occasions that should be joyful make us feel guilty and then we overeat to compensate.
Try using a journal to identify your triggers.
Use a journal and write down what was happening, how you were feeling before you found yourself eating.
You will be able to start to pinpoint the things that trigger you. To develop a good awareness of the feelings that make you want to eat.
Then you can start to find other ways to feed your feelings.
There is a great article on the subject here – https://www.helpguide.org/articles/diets/emotional-eating.htm
Do activities for fun! Play, sing, dance, play a video game, do a jigsaw, have a bath.
Read a book, go for a walk, listen to music, phone a friend.
Get outside and meet up with a friend for a nice walk – now we are allowed to!
All of these things can help distract you from emotional eating.
When you feel yourself craving, pause, take a minute or two to consider if you are truly hungry.
Analyse your feelings and if it is just a craving because of how you are feeling then use another way to help you feel better.
Use your journal as well to note down the other things that bring you joy.
Note down how and when you have used something other than food and felt better.
Then build on this success.
Emotional eating is normal and caused by all sorts of things so don’t get bound up in guilt about it.
This will hinder your progress.
Focus on the positive things you can do about it.