Get a Handle on Emotional Eating

Ever been angry or upset one minute and then on your couch eating the next, unable to remember why you started eating or how long you had spent munching? If so, then you have entered the world of emotional eating. It’s something than can happen to anyone, and one of the most common dieting obstacles out there.

Emotional eating at its best passes after a few minutes. At its worst, it can take over your life and cause you to eat uncontrollably for extended periods of time. And according to nutritional experts, 75% of overeating is caused by emotions. So don’t worry, if you suffer from emotional eating, you are not alone.

People often eat to relieve stress or to get something off their minds. The kicker is that stress, and the insulin jump that goes with it, may actually cause you to crave high sugar, high carbohydrate foods – foods that go straight to your waistline and cause you even more stress.

Rather than munching, it's better to develop new skills for dealing with boredom, self-esteem issues and stress. Try to pinpoint the major reasons for your stress or unpleasant emotions, and see how you can turn the tide. Here are a few suggestions to combat your emotions:

  • Get your trigger foods out of the house, get your crutch foods out of arms' reach
  • Go for a walk or jog. Physical activity relieves stress.
  • Do deep breathing and relaxation exercises
  • Keep a reminder of your goal handy
  • Talk to a friend
  • Visit and post on the support message boards
  • Surround yourself with positive reinforcers, like pictures and people
  • Keep a journal that includes your best personal accomplishments
  • Track your eating patterns, including when and why you pick up food.
If you still seem to come back to food when your emotions get the best of you, you can at least be prepared. Eating large amounts of snacks is not a good thing. But if you eat low calorie foods, it’s not so bad. So stock the fridge with healthy alternatives--foods that have good nutritious value and are smaller in size. Here are a few food suggestions to keep within arms' reach:
  • Apple or orange slices
  • Carrot sticks
  • Banana
  • Broccoli
  • Whole wheat toast
  • Bran muffin
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Applesauce
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Member Comments

thanks Report
Had to learn to make other than food as my go to during depression, and stress Report
While hummus & celery stix can never replace a big bag of potato chips, I do try to go from one taste to another rather than overdo one thing. Avocado pudding might work nearly as well as chocolate ice cream or a candy bar. It is about keeping natural alternatives close at hand & stopping to drink a large glass of water part way thru to help fill that hungry void. I've gotten a lot better about this & at least if I overeat the foods are healthier. Report
I can really go to far in overloading on carbs but then I just stop.... Will it happen again I'm quite sure it will but I'm normally handle it. Report
I appreciate this one. Report
thanks Report
Thank you for this great article! Report
Nice article Report
i got rid of all of my trigger foods! Report
Very good points! Thank you! Report
I have figured it out recently that I do have overeating patterns due to emotional stress. I need to work on how to control this behaviour before it hurts my hard efforts. Report
thanks Report
Than you!