Emotional eating is a serious problem. The hashtag #stresseating has over 120,000 posts from all over the world, and there’s a reason for that. Here are some coping mechanisms to make sure you eat to nourish yourself with good-for-you-foods instead of indulging due to your mood.
1. Healthy snacks are the best way to avoid those terrible cravings. Fresh fruit and veggies paired with low fat dip are popular options. Same goes for nuts and popcorn without the butter.
2. Indulge in portion controlled amounts of what you crave instead of depriving yourself. Depriving leads to binging later on. Have a slider sized cheeseburger instead of a normal one, or maybe a few bites of cake instead of a whole slice.
3. Replace boredom with another activity – play with your pet, call a friend, go on a nature walk, listen to your favorite album or watch a movie. You’ll forget about that pesky craving in no time!
4. Take a mindful moment and think about why you’re hungry. Have you eaten recently? Is this hunger of a true physical nature or an emotional nature? Allow for some time to pass before acting impulsively.
5. Keep a food diary. This can help keep cravings in check, and can help clarify patterns that show connections between your mood and eating habits.
6. Keep temptations like junky comfort foods out of the house. If they’re easily accessible, it will be harder to resist them. If you need to go out to the store to get that bag of potato chips, you’re less likely to end up indulging.
7. Make sure you have a network of support around you who you can confide in during times of cravings. This can be bae, friends, family, or even support groups built specifically for emotional eating.
8. Prioritize pleasure in your life, so that eating is not the only source of it. Infuse your water with delicious fruit and herbs, wear soft and cozy clothes most of the time, get massages, and take bubble baths. Self-care helps you stop by bringing other sources of happiness besides eating.
9. When we’re stressed out, our bodies produce higher levels of cortisol, the tricky hormone that causes people to crave salty and sweet (i.e, unhealthy) foods. Finding relaxation techniques and a stress management plan can help with this.
10. Think more mindfully about your social experiences. Many gatherings revolve around cooking or going out to a meal. Instead, make it a healthy DIY salad night at home, or choose a more active experience, like a painting class or a hike.