Emotional Eating: Feeding Your Feelings
Eating to feed a feeling, and not a growling stomach, is emotional eating.
Managing Emotional Eating
Here are a few tips to help you deal with emotional eating:
- Recognize emotional eating and learn what triggers this behavior in
- Make a list of things to do when you get the urge to eat and you're not
hungry, and carry it with you, according to the Tufts Nutrition web site. When
you feel overwhelmed, you can put off that desire by doing another enjoyable
- Try taking a walk, calling a friend, playing cards, cleaning your room,
doing laundry, or something productive to take your mind off the craving --
even taking a nap, according to the Tufts Nutrition web site.
- When you do get the urge to eat when you're not hungry, find a comfort food
that's healthy instead of junk food. "Comfort foods don't need to be
unhealthy," says Wansink.
- For some, leaving comfort foods behind when they're dieting can be
emotionally difficult. Wansink tells WebMD, "The key is moderation, not
elimination." He suggests dividing comfort foods into smaller portions. For
instance, if you have a large bag of chips, divide it into smaller containers
or baggies and the temptation to eat more than one serving can be avoided.
- When it comes to comfort foods that aren't always healthy, like fattening
desserts, Wansink also offers this piece of information: "Your memory of a
food peaks after about four bites, so if you only have those bites, a week
later you'll recall it as just a good experience than if you polished off the
whole thing." So have a few bites of cheesecake, then call it quits, and
you'll get equal the pleasure with lower cost.
Lastly, remember that emotional eating is something that most
people do when they're bored, happy, or sad. It might be a bag of chips or a
steak, but whatever the food choice, learning how to control it and using
moderation are key.