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Emotional Eating: What Helps

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It helps to add a delay between the urge to eat and actually eating. That gives you time to check in with how you're feeling and why you want to eat.

When you get the urge to eat a cookie out of sadness or boredom, remember that you have the option to wait it out. “Saying to yourself ‘I’ll have it later’ gives the impulse time to pass,” Farrell says. Even if it doesn’t, successfully delaying the snack helps you feel more in control.

“Wear a rubber band around your wrist, and snap it whenever you reach for the jelly beans,” Farrell says. The snap is your cue to be mindful about what's about to happen.

Get Moving

When you’re tempted to snack for emotional reasons, try moving instead.

“Just walk in place for 10 minutes,” Farrell says. Even a quick burst of activity refreshes you, and moving is a proven stress-buster. You've replaced the urge to eat with something else.

Keep It Real

The truth is not all emotional eating is unhealthy. It’s normal and natural occasionally to eat to celebrate with friends or because you’re feeling blue. “It only becomes a problem when it is used frequently and even in the face of unhealthy consequences, such as medical issues,” Becker-Phelps says.

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Reviewed on July 28, 2014

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