Rounds of emotional eating tend to be over-looping by nature. It all starts with a small chip from a chocolate bar, becomes a few bites, and turns into eating the entire bar. Trips to the refrigerator and the drive-thru are pretty common.
The feelings of post-stress eating are all too common as well when you pretend to yourself that you haven’t just loaded the content of the entire ice-cream bucket in your tummy and are about to explode with guilt for having deliberately moved the weight machine’s needle in favor of the heavier side. So what do you do now? How do you exactly stop emotional eating?
The answer is pretty simple. You start making attempts of breaking through this cycle of stress eating. Temporarily comfort eating can make you feel as though you have bid farewell to the nagging emotions that triggered it all in the first place.
Eventually, however, you will realize that the relief was temporary and you have only just added to the fat reserves on your body. Not to forget, the comfort food is often packed with a poor nutritional quality. So here are some measures to take to stop emotional eating.
Slow Down and Become Aware
The first step to this mission of breaking through the trap of stress eating is to become aware. Until and unless you are not sure that what you are eating is part and parcel of the emotional protocol, you won’t be able to get out of it.
Stress eating happens all too often and frequent is the middle of it so you need to sharpen your senses of self-scrutiny and check for the common signs of emotional eating.
Ask Yourself If You’re Really Hungry
When your fork digs into a dish, take a pause and question yourself if you are really hungry. Better yet, ask this question before you succumb to your hunger pangs that could possibly be fraudulent.
It is pretty simple to understand the hunger games. Ask yourself of how hungry you are on a scale of 1-10. If the answer lies closer to one, you are probably being duped by an emotional hunger pang. If the answer’s rating is somewhere between 6-10, you are probably physically hungry and you should really be heading for the kitchen.
Keep A Food Journal
Maintaining a food journal is a pro tip to stop emotional eating. You will be able to keep a better track of things once you write them down. Outline the last time that you fed yourself on the request of stress. Was it some particular feeling or where you just feeling lonely?
As and when you jot down a pattern of your stress eating, you will be able to better handle eating for curbing those sentiments. The ‘why’ is essential to give you a good answer.
As the food journal helps you to see through the stress and helps you identify the triggers, you would be better able to understand how to break the chain. In doing so, there are a lot of curative steps that can be taken such as trying a breathing exercise, eating something healthy, sipping black tea, or more.
- In case of stress eating due to loneliness and depression, you can call a friend to have company or play with your pet
- If you are giving in to eating due to boredom, you can read a good book as an alternative, play guitar, watch a funny movie, or so
- If you are eating due to exhaustion, you can always take a bubbling bath or drink hot tea
- If you are anxious and want to eat due to it, you can always release the nervous energy by squeezing a stress ball, going for a brisk walk, or dancing to a song that you like
You can always stop emotional eating by sipping black tea. A study revealed that those who had black tea were able to experience a 47% drop in the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
This stress hormone encourages you to crave food and pushes you further into the ditch of emotional eating. With black tea, you’d be able to shrink cortisol’s level. In comparison to black tea, there was only a 27% decline in the stress level in people who sipped a placebo drink.
Another quick fix is to practice a breathing exercise. With the help of this, your breathing will slow down and your mind will be tricked into thinking that the body is sleeping, which relaxes it and you’d be able to prevent another episode of stress eating.
Take Pleasure While Eating
If you feel that you cannot add the brakes to the accelerated stress eating, you can always cut down the speed of your eating. Work slowly to break the cycle of non-stop eating due to feelings. By slowly eating what you are consuming, you will be taking more pleasure in what you are eating. Subsequently, you will be mindful and will be able to eat less.
Deal With The Feelings
The last resort is to deal with the feelings. If emotional eating is a call of some serious problem in your life such as depression, you might want to consider meeting a therapist.
If a horrible boss is behind the anxiety and subsequent reliance on chocolate, you might want to consider changing your job. Each complex situation calls for a long-term solution so that you can get out of it as well as stop emotional eating.