When you're at your weakest point emotionally, that is when some of the strongest cravings can strike. You may turn to food for comfort (consciously or unconsciously) when you're stressed, facing something difficult, or even bored and looking to fill some time. For example, I started noticing that on the days of the week when I was watching my friend's baby, I would often overeat. The stress of a crying baby was leading to emotional eating for me.
Emotional eating can sabotage your weight-loss efforts. It very often leads to eating too much, especially too much of the yucky sugary, high fat and high calorie foods. But the good news is that if you're prone to emotional eating, you can take steps to regain control of your eating habits and get back on track with your weight-loss goals. Here are some ideas:
- Keep a food journal. I've said it before and I will again... If you SEE what you are eating, it will help you stay accountable. If emotional eating is an issue, track how much and when you eat, how hungry you felt, and if anything stressful was going on. Over time, you will see patterns emerge that reveal the connection between your emotions and your food consumption.
- Take away the temptation. If you eat M&M's when you are stressed, get them out of the house. There is no need to have things like that laying around, waiting for your weaker moments.
- Do a hunger reality check. Seriously, are you really hungry? If you just ate a couple of hours ago, chances are you aren't. Many times, you might just be thirsty so try a glass of water first. A true sign of hunger is a rumbling belly.
- Stop depriving yourself. When you've got a weight loss goal, you might consume too few calories in an attempt to lose quicker. This will only serve to increase your cravings and in turn, increase the chance that you will binge.
- Calm down. There are many stress relief techniques out there to try such as Yoga, Meditation, and Running, just to name a few. See what works for you.
- Seek out professional help. If you have tried to do the self-help options and you are still having problems getting control of your emotional eating, it may be time to try some therapy. Understanding the motivations behind your binges can help you learn some new coping skills.
If you do overeat, don't beat yourself up. Move on and try harder next time. Focusing on the positive changes you're making in your eating habits will lead to better health.Good luck, friends.