How can I Stop Emotional Eating?

I was searching the internet a little for some ideas on how to curb the self-medication with food under emotional stress.

Today I was listing to my body but just couldn’t fix it at that moment. But I did the “name and notice”. While the first two days I thought I can get it under control the next day, Today marked day 3 of my combined high stress and eating too much episode.

One thing just struck me that I did not get enough sleep within the last week or two, which means the balance is gone.

I noticed that I really enjoyed the carbs so adding more to my meal in those times may balance out the looking for them in the weirdest places. Also a little stack of the protein bars in the (work and home) freezer might be a good idea.

Here are some notes from an article I found:
Thankfully, you can break the habit of emotional eating. It takes practice and finding creative, new ways to calm and successfully soothe yourself. The goal is to rewire your brain to identify non-eating behaviors as comforting.

Step One: Be Aware.
Much of emotional eating is so unconscious that it happens automatically or below your awareness. Before you jump into changing this behavior, keep a journal. Write down where and when you stress eat. The office? Late at night? When you are alone? Are there any patterns that you notice? Every time you eat, ask yourself how physically hungry you are on a scale from 1-10.  If you are a 6-10, it’s likely that you are physically hungry. A 3, for example, would signify that you are stress eating.

Step Two: Replace.
If you take out stress eating, you have to put something in its place.  Write down a concrete list of all the healthy, non-calorie related activities that give you a quick pick-me-up on a tough day. Here a few simple examples.

  • One-Minute Fix :  Sip black tea. A study in the journal of Psychopharmacology found that subjects who drank black tea experienced a 47% drop in their cortisol levels, the stress hormone that makes you crave food, compared to 27% among the subjects who drank a placebo.
  • One-Minute Fix: If a foot rub would hit the spot better than a snack, try self-message. It can be as simple as sitting down, taking off your shoe and placing your foot over a tennis ball. Rub your feet, one at a time, over the top of the ball until they feel relaxed and soothed. According to the study in the International Journal of Neuroscience , self-massage slows your heart rate and lowers your level of cortisol .
  • One-Minute Fix: Mindless eating soothes raw nerves by numbing out emotions. Munching gives you a moment to zone out from daily commotion and stress. Instead, actively choose a healthy way to clear your mind. Try a quick breathing exercise. Slowing down your breathing can trick your body into thinking you are going to sleep, which in turn relaxes your body. Close your eyes. Stare at the blackness of your eyelids. Slowly breathe in and out. Count each time you inhale and exhale. Continue until you get to 10.

Step Three: Practice!
There are many ways to calm yourself without calories, such as journaling, meditation techniques, connecting with others, self-message, distraction, guided imagery and ways to pamper your senses. Try out these techniques when you aren’t craving food so you get them down pat before you really need them! You wouldn’t want to learn how to swim in rough water. Nor do you want to learn the art of soothing yourself without food on a very stressful day. With practice, you can end emotional eating.

I was planning on fasting tomorrow but under these circumstances it would feel more like a punishment. So I will just resume my usual ( minus the stress eating) and just skip the fasting this week.  Tomorrow is another bike2work day which will allow me to sleep in a little and get some relaxation along the way.

3 thoughts on “How can I Stop Emotional Eating?

  1. My “go to” is an Epsom salt bath. Make yourself a cup of tea, grab a book and hop in the tub! You will be relaxed and feel good when you get out. I add lavender oil sometimes to help decompress.

    1. This week is so limited on time and I get home way too late from work but I you know what I will hop into the bath right now and try it out. I have 30 more minutes before bedtime. Thanks for the suggestion.

      1. Enjoy! I ran, stretched and took a bath. Time for my castor oil pack and bed by 10. You can do it, relaxing is hard work 🙂

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