Overcome Emotional Eating: 10 Tips to Help You Take Charge
You are what you eat. We all know this cliché and, needless to say, the food we choose to ingest is important. What we eat is essential but what about how we eat? How much? How often? And yes, how quickly? Which brings us to why we eat. Exploring this aspect of our life is necessary for overcoming emotional eating.
So, Why Do We Eat?
Of course, we eat because we’re hungry. We eat for the nutritional value. In some cases, we eat to indulge a craving for a particular taste. Most of us have times when we eat in a misguided attempt to solve an unrelated problem. Food comforts us. The act of eating calms and/or distracts us. If and when this situation becomes the norm, we can add a new problem to our list: overcoming emotional eating.
Virtually all of us have been conditioned to view food not as nourishment but instead as a distraction or reward. As babies, we got a bottle when we cried. Over time, we were taught to anticipate dessert as a prize — something far more exciting than any main course. Now, in adulthood, our upbringing makes us easy targets for modern-day perceptions. Slowly but surely, eating has been transformed by our culture. From fast food to instant meals to a few taps on an app, we are so emotionally detached from the process.
All of the above adds up to an unhealthy relationship with food and eating. We eat to quiet fears, calm anxiety, reinforce a self-image, and to replace that bottle that once made everything feel better. We eat too much or too often. Our diets are filled with empty calories. Chewing appears to now be optional as we practically inhale our food. Emotional eating, however, can be addressed. This process most often begins with some personnel changes based on new perspectives.
10 Tips for Overcoming Emotional Eating
1. Talk Back to Your Inner Voice
It’s an inner monologue but you can turn it into a dialogue.
2. Reduce the Available “Supply” and Cook More!
Do not keep unhealthy foods in your home. Commit to following recipes. Get into the habit of shopping and cooking to re-connect yourself to the process.
3. Join a New Rewards Program
Using sweets or junk food to reward yourself is not working. What healthy prizes can you use instead?
4. Treat Yourself as You Would Treat a Child
If a child to you seeking nourishment and support, you wouldn’t suggest they scarf down a bag of potato chips, right?
5. Keep a Meal Journal
Be consistent and honest. This one can be a real wake-up call.
6. Turn Off Your Devices
Your smartphone may distract you from focusing on the sensual pleasure of slowly enjoying your meals.
7. Practice Mindfulness
Stay present with your feelings. Identify your emotional eating triggers. This is a great method for overcoming emotional eating.
8. Make Good Health Part of Your Identity
It’s never too late to re-invent yourself. Become the one that other perceive as healthy and centered.
9. Practice Daily Self-Care
Guard your sleep, stay active, and practice relaxation techniques.
10. Create a Support System
When you want to start a workout regimen, you find a training partner. Try the same approach for your eating changes! (and see below)
Is Therapy on Your Menu?
Eating is a personal experience with emotional roots all the back to our earliest memories. Digging into these factors is great for overcoming emotional eating and keeping it permanently at bay. There is no better way to start this journey than by seeking help.
Your therapist is a skilled guide who can point out self-sabotaging patterns and turn them into productive strategies. At Eddins Counseling Group in Houston, we have qualified therapists that specialize in overcoming emotional eating and other disordered eating habits. Together, you’ll find the ingredients and then cook up a far healthier approach to eating. Call us at 832-559-2622 or book an appointment online.
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