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Health & Wellness Articles  ›  Stress Relief

De-Stress in 3 Minutes or Less

Stop Emotional Eating Before It Starts

-- By Dean Anderson, Behavioral Psychology Expert
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What is the single, most common problem that most dieters face when trying to lose weight? Will power? Nah. Temptation? Sometimes. Emotional eating? Bingo! That’s why it takes so much more than good intentions and information about nutrition and exercise to be successful. The ability to manage difficult situations and feelings effectively—without turning to food and eating—is a necessary foundation for a successful weight loss plan and healthy lifestyle.

Fortunately, there are many proactive steps you can take to keep functioning on all your mental cylinders during tough times. These steps range widely from basic relaxation techniques to the development of a reliable support network. Other options include:
  • Keeping a food journal to help you identify your emotional eating triggers
  • Cultivating mental and emotional well-being through practices like meditation, mindfulness, massage, and yoga
  • Developing good problem solving skills
  • Turning to the Message Boards for help and support when you need it; offering help to others as a way to get your mind off your own troubles and gain a little perspective on things
But all of these things take time, and there are many instances when you need something you can do right now, to keep yourself grounded, focused and able to make good decisions. After all, you don’t always have time to take a walk, relax in a hot bath or call a friend to talk things over. That’s what we’ll be talking about here—a 3-minute trick for handling stressful situations in the moment.
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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

Member Comments

  • DAWNESDREAM
    I have found that these stress relieving tips can help just about any issue that may be showing its ugly head. Personally, meditating, yoga and focused breathing has worked very well. Thanks for ”spelling it out" - 2/11/2014 12:08:23 AM
  • Wow, everything I needed to hear in just one article! Great job synthesizing all the info and advice, and boiling it all down into lists. I can get my mind around lists! Thank you for your perspective, and for taking the time to put this together. - 10/25/2013 8:18:52 AM
  • With all the stress and anxiety I've been under lately this will come in handy. Let's just see if I can physically do it lol - 9/24/2013 10:19:29 PM
  • This article helped me pin point exactly why all the sudden I had this undeniable urge to go get Panda express and just binge eat. Honestly I didn't even realize I was upset. This helped me so much. So thank you! - 9/17/2013 1:54:16 PM
  • If an article can make you realize your doing your bosses work then here it is.
    I stress out at the job so often its affecting who i am. I'll have to read this a few times till it sinks in. - 9/16/2013 11:45:05 AM
  • saving this
    - 9/14/2013 6:44:47 PM
  • Thank you. I had a situation that came up that I know would have caused emotional eating. I used some of the tips to help me not eat to make myself feel better. - 9/14/2013 1:06:09 PM
  • I saved it si I can go back to it. Great stuff. - 8/12/2013 7:35:58 AM
  • This is very helpful. - 8/6/2013 1:22:43 PM
  • STR458
    my week one check list for Stress Busting Challenge - 8/4/2013 5:56:52 PM
  • Thank you for the sharing the great ideas. Meditation, yoga and setting the environment helps me. I listen to various Meditation and relaxing YouTube videos. The calming sounds keeps me on track and reminds me to slow down and enjoy the moments.

    Have a wonderful week and look forward to your feedback, comments, suggestions on how to enjoy the moments! - 8/4/2013 7:09:39 AM
  • Emotional eating is the one thing I don't really plan for. I plan my meals, my grocery list, my snacks but then am caught flat footed because I bump up against the urge to eat to deal with an unpleasant emotion. Last night I heard myself say," I am not hungry. " But I was upset, I wanted the feelings to change. So I ate. I need to practice other behaviors when wanting to eat when I am not hungry. - 7/30/2013 7:00:32 AM
  • Makes so much sense. I'm going to put these onto palm cards as reminders - 7/20/2013 10:01:45 AM
  • Great article, with lots of practical ideas. I find the most efficient way to handle a situation that is stressing me out is to think about what I can DO. If there's nothing I can do, then it's just worrying and that's pointless. Of course I'm not terrific about this, but I see so many people who make no effort to take action--instead they will talk and talk about problems as if they actually enjoy complaining and worrying about life situations. I try to go straight to What can I do? If nothing, or nothing at least for right now, I try to let it go. It helps me to keep in mind that my grandmother always said worrying is sacrilegious. I try to have faith that I just have to do my personal best, and God will take care of the rest. - 6/27/2013 7:48:13 AM
  • BEJOYFULL
    This is an excellent article that has me buzzing with possibilities!

    I am learning many lessons here on my journey to eating healthy. I suddenly realize how important it is for me to "cultivate", to "fashion" my life in such a way that I feel good about myself.

    A new attitude for me is to look at the ongoing problem I encounter and to think about doing a 'reality check' that will point me in the right direction.

    This article enables me to have tools and discover insights that enhance a positive lifestyle change.

    So, what is the one thing I'll remember for a successful weight loss for myself? It is as the article says, that I will be able to manage difficult situations and feelings effective.

    - 6/11/2013 12:27:59 PM