Even if you aren’t looking glamorously like the girl above while eating chips on the bed for emotional reasons, you could be pajamas-dressed eating on your couch or some place else, alone and even with friends trying to relieve stress or in the look for comfort.
But emotional eating doesn’t solve any of the emotional needs you could be trying to fulfill since chances are, it is not food really what you are craving for, it probably momentarily eases this feelings you might be getting but the underlying reason will more likely still be there after you just finished and gained unwanted weight.
But what could be causing you to eat emotionally?
There are several factors and you can try to identify one here:
- Stress and emotions like loneliness, anxiety or sadness.
- Boredom or simply trying to find something to do.
- Social Influence, like the pressure of your peers, from work or family.
There are more than these of course but the point here is to try to address real problems and of course find solutions and learn how to stop emotional eating, so I have gathered what the experts consider the best ideas.
1. Stop to Think Before Eating
Before you start eating when getting the feeling of “hunger” or the crave for it, try to identify what are the real reasons behind your hunger, the real empty-stomach food-hungry feeling will get to you eventually and slowly, while the “emotional hunger” will appear all of a sudden and could be linked to any of the reasons listed above like stress or loneliness.
Another good way to know if the origin of your hunger is purely emotional could be identifying if you feel some kind of guilt right after you have finished eating, more often than not the emotional cravings are for junk food and you realize how bad it is for your health when you are done with it.
Experts advice to give yourself some minutes to ask yourself several questions to determine if your “hunger” is for emotional reasons, questions like:
- Do I eat more than I should?
- Would I feel guilt after eating this?
- Is this an abnormal eating time for me? (yeah, like waking up at 2 a.m. to assault the fridge)
- Is there anything causing me stress, anxiety or another negative feeling?
- Is food a common comforting resource in my family?
If your answers for the questions above tend to be on the positive side, chances are you are only craving food for emotional reasons and not because you are really hungry so you need to make some changes, but what can be done against this feelings or cravings?
2. Find Another Way
Attacking the root reason of the emotional eating like feeling stress or anxiety can be done in different and more healthy ways like:
Exercising, which also adds strength and health to your daily life and is an effective stress relieving therapy.
Find yourself some time to do different activities to distract you, like relaxing at your local cafe, or try yoga and meditation.
Reach for support on other people like friends or family, sometimes you just need to share your thoughts and find support in those who love and understand you, social interaction can get rid of negative feelings, just remember to meet with positive people who add value to your life.
Also never fall in the trap of drugs or alcohol, I mean, nothing wrong with going out to the pub with friends and take a pint but never abuse any kind of substance to feel good since the underlying emotional reason will always remain after the effect of such substances wears out, read an article about it here.
Getting Professional Help
Remember you are not alone and that there are professionals who can help you address this problem. Your doctor, therapist or counselors are trained to help you deal with these feelings in different fields and can help you sort the best treatment for it.
If part of your solution resides in the training of a sport or discipline as part of the dealing with stress issue, then a fitness expert or a yoga instructor could be your guiding light, reach for the appropriate help wherever needed and don’t be afraid to ask and reach for support.