Emotional Eating – How to Stop Before You Start

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thumbTo eat is to keep ourselves alive, but many of us attach emotions to the act of eating.  We drown our sorrows in alcohol when we go through a bad break-up.  If we had a rough day at work, a bowl of carbs feels like a warm hug.  When we are bored at work, we find ourselves munching on chocolates just to pass the time.  Why do we abuse our own bodies when we are angry at others by packing our stomachs full of destructive food?  Why do we not reach for an apple or a stalk of celery when we are upset?  We tend to eat sugary, starchy, and salty foods that do more harm than good for our weight-loss goals.

With emotional eating, you are not eating to fill a void in your stomach.  You are eating to fill a void in your feelings.  A great way to determine whether or not you are engaging in emotional eating is to picture the type of food that you want to eat.  How does a broccoli spear sound?  If you normally like broccoli but cannot imagine eating it at that moment, then you are trying to satisfy a need other than hunger.  If you do not, however, like eating broccoli, imagine another vegetable that you enjoy eating, like squash, carrots, or tomatoes.  If your initial response to “how about this?” is “not right now,” then you are not physically hungry.  You can recognize the signs of emotional eating if you feel like nothing can satisfy your craving unless it is pizza or a brownie.  A good weight-loss tip is to substitute what you want to eat with something similar but healthier.  Feel like eating something sweet?  Grab a few grapes or an apricot.  You will trick your mind and satisfy your urge for sugar.  

Exercise is also a great weight-loss tip to beat those junk food cravings.  Not only will you want to avoid junk food because it will undo all of that hard work, but you will also want to fill your body with fuel that is going to last as opposed to foods that will make you crash so hard that you have a difficult time bouncing back.  Exercise is hard enough as it is.  Who wants to have to do twice as much of it just to indulge in a bowl of ice cream?  Is it worth it?  Exercise also releases endorphins, so you may find that you have less of an urge to quell bad feelings due to less existing in the first place.  Stress is also a big factor in what and how much we eat, and exercise can whittle that down, too.  Though, it is important to take the time to relax even if it is active relaxation in the form of coloring or meditation.  Take the time to get your mind right, and your body will fall into place as well.


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