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3 Tips To Help Control Emotional Overeating
There is something about food that is comforting and soothing to the soul. Whether we are happy, sad, stressed, or depressed food seems to make it all better. For me, the passing of my dad in 1992 is when I started turning to food for comfort. It really helps to be honest with yourself to help identify if you have a problem with emotional overeating. Here are a few tips to help you identify if you may have this problem and ways to help control it. Note: This article is not meant to replace advice from a licensed therapist or medical professional.
1. Keep a food diary. In addition to writing down everything you eat, start noting how you feel when you eat-sad, angry, upset, happy, stressed, etc. Don’t judge yourself or make any major changes to your habits when you begin your diary. You’re not trying to impress anyone or prove anything. You are trying to get the “big picture” on your eating habits. After several weeks, you will probably see a pattern.
2. Seek stress relief. I personally find myself overeating when I am stressed so I have to make a conscious effort to keep stress at a minimum. Some ways to relieve stress include meditation, yoga, masssage, listening to relaxing music.
3. Swap goodies. Try to find substitutions for the comfort foods or food rewards you reach for when you are feeling happy or sad. Having something in place already is key. Keep a list handy that will prompt you to turn to the healthy choice rather than the candy bar or cookies. Taking a short walk, reading a magazine or book for pleasure, doing your nails, are all little emotional pick-me-ups that you can implement in place of food.
Take a quick personal assessment. Before reaching for food ask yourself if you are truly hungry or just looking for something to do. If it’s the latter try some of the activities listed at the end of #3.
If emotional overeating is something you struggle with, know that you are not alone. Work on keeping healthy snacks in your house so if you do get the urge to munch on something during an emotional time, you can do it without feeling guilty. If it’s something you feel you cannot manage on your own do not hesitate to seek the advice of a licensed therapist or medical professional.
I’m curious, what’s your favorite way to unwind after a stressful day? Leave your comment below.
Tasha Nelson is a busy mom, wife and registered nurse on a personal journey to get fit and live healthier while encouraging other women to do the same. She is also a total wellness advocate and enthusiast who firmly believes in the importance of taking care of yourself. A healthy mind, body, and spirit makes for a happy person. Isn’t that what we all want?