Take Action Against Emotional Eating

HEADLINE: Emotional Eating is a Problem

Your reaction: Tell me something I don’t know…

By now, you likely know what emotional eating is. You probably realize that emotions cause 75% of overeating. You're an expert on how to discover times and triggers of high emotions. What you’re waiting on are alternatives. Enter exercise.

Exercise is a great emotional outlet because it provides remedies for many of the emotions that trigger eating. Plus it’s a healthy alternative.

You’re in control
Different feelings can cause emotional spells. Loss of control is one. Maybe you’re going through a difficult break-up. Your company is downsizing. A family member is ill. You can go all day feeling like you’re losing control – until the moment you open the fridge. Now, the control is back.

Exercise can remedy this even better, providing the same in-control feelings that food does. You can decide which exercises you do, where you exercise and for how long, and the list goes on. Work out in the living room, or at the park. Break a quick sweat in 15 minutes, or walk for an hour. Unlike other areas in your life, this choice is yours.

Reverse the unhealthy trend
Hopelessness is another cause of emotional eating. You may feel unhealthy, overweight, and that you can’t do anything about it. So you turn to comfort foods, typically unhealthy ones, and simply add to the problem. Exercise is another way to deal with your emotions and to regain hope, only it’s a healthy version. All exercise holds some healthy benefits; there’s no exercise that will make you unhealthier.

Rely on others
What does food provide when you’re emotional? For most, it’s comfort. Why not turn to a friend or family member instead for that comfort? If you’re worried they won’t have time for you, that’s where fitness comes into play. Exercising with a fitness buddy or a group when stress and emotions hit benefits everyone. You are able to share your time and your feelings with someone you trust. Perhaps they have some great advice for you, or you may think of a better way to handle the issue just by saying it out-loud.

Plus, with this strategy, everyone receives the benefits of working out. It’s a win-win situation for you and your fitness buddy!

Comfort exercises
When emotions hit, some of us open the fridge and find our favorite foods to console us. Think about some exercises that you find comforting instead.  "Comfort exercises" are your favorites, the ones you always enjoy. They should be activities you look at as FUN, not as work.

You can have a different comfort exercise for each season (running in the winter, yard work in the summer) or for different times of day (push-ups in the morning, stretching in the evening). You can have several comfort exercises, or just one. Discover what exercises you truly enjoy, ones you look forward to, and lean on them when your emotions strike.

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Member Comments

I try to go for hot tea first to be certain I am only eating when I am hungry. Report
I eat out of boredom so I only eat now when I am hungry. Report
This article described exactly what I was dealing with for years. I couldn’t explain it but now I realize it was feeling out of control and hopelessness that we’re my triggers. Great article and yes I do use exercise as my stress buster! Report
Wow! This is something I've got to get a handle on! Report
Food binging is tougher at times especially during the holidays Report
About two weeks after I started Spark People, I began having the worst cravings EVER! I tried eating low carb, and that's when it all started. I couldn't control it. It was like I could feel my brain going berserk if I didn't get the sugar I wanted.
Also, I did struggle with emotional eating at the time. I can thank God that I didn't get an eating disorder. Report
Thanks Report
It's all about priority. I've worked with mental health patients for 20 years. Most of the time, you get the whole "yea but"..If it matters to you, you will do what needs done to help yourself feel better. Report
Great info. Report
Good read! Report
Sometimes I eat an apple or carrot sticks. It seems like something with a crush helps. Report
ETHELMERZ
Exercise does not remove stress for me, it causes more stress because it takes time away from taking care of things in my daily life, and if I don’t do those things, I really have more stress. Report
I struggling on this but I need to stay away from snack aisle🙁 Report
good points Report
Good tips Report


 

About The Author

Zach Van Hart
Zach Van Hart
Zach is a journalist who regularly covers health and exercise topics.