Dieting: Emotional Eating

4 years ago
   

After a long day at the office dealing with co-workers and clients, do you find yourself lost in a carton of Moose Tracks? I do! Emotional eating is the biggest weight-loss sabotage that everyone faces. It's easier to devoir a whole red velvet cake then face the problem at hand. Identifying the triggers to this mindless eating is a lot easier than you think.

First lets define emotional eating, often referred to as stress eating or eating out boredom. There is a difference between physical hunger and turning to food for comfort. When you are truly hungry, you are able to consciously select food to eat. Grabbing the first thing in sight while sad, lonely, overwhelmed, stressed, anxiety, or happy (Yes Happiness!) is considered emotional eating. Subconsciously, you are eating and not keeping track of the amount or calorie count until your at the bottom of the bag or container. After the food is gone, the original emotion (problem) is still there.  Keeping a daily food journal and determining which eating sessions are emotional or physical hunger is the best way to identify your eating habits and stop this cycle. 

The Difference Between Emotional Hunger and Physical Hunger
 
  • Emotional hunger comes on suddenly while physical hunger comes on gradually.
 
  • The ability to put off eating is physical hunger. Most people prolong lunch to finish a task. Where as emotional hunger can't wait!
 
  • Continuous eating even with signs of fullness and unsatisfied with the food eaten is also emotional hunger. Physical hunger pains stop once the stomach is full.
 
  • After satisfying hunger, there should be no guilt or shame. Emotional hunger causes these feelings and physical hunger doesn't.

Once you separate physical hunger and emotional hunger pains, you can control your calorie intake by channeling the energy used to stuff your face into other activities. (Remember from time to time your body needs more calories then usual it's ok to eat a little extra. Also do not deny yourself  occasional desserts, snacks, or treats.) Facing the problem at hand (i.e. Relationships, Work, and mental health) is a bigger task and sometimes can take time, but you do not need to turn to food in the process. Listed below are a few activities to try instead of munching on a bag of chips or cleaning out the candy dish.

Activities To Try Instead of Eating
 
     1.) Contact With Others- Visit, Phone, Skype, or Chat Online, it doesn't matter the method, but conversing with friends and family can take your mind off the problem at hand or stop boredom.
 
     2.) Exercise- Take a walk or a simple exercise routine. (This is recommended for Stress Relief by physicians.) Listening to music will also help change the mind set.
 
     3.) Water- Six to Eight glasses a day is required for adults. Liquid takes up more room in the stomach and solid food absorbs the water causing it to expand. Two or Three small cookies or crackers or a piece of fruit with a glass of water is a good snack between meals.
 
     4.) Plate The Food- When eating do not continuously grab food from the container, portions are hard to determine this way. Instead, put all the food on a plate using the My Pyramid guidelines.
 
     5.) Clean and Organize- Do those chores that have been put off for so long. Busy work will keep the mind of food and progress will be made in the home/office.
 
     6.) Beauty Régime- If emotional eating is a daily problem, start a beauty regime that will take up time and prevent frequent trips to the pantry. Painting nails, Warm baths, Facials, and Leg Waxing (or Shaving) are just a few ideas.
 
     7.) Chewing Gum- When at work or in the middle of other activities, simply chewing gums can stop mindless eating. The mouth is going through the motions of chewing, but large amounts of calories are not being consumed.
 
 
 
 What Do You Do To Stop Emotional Eating?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Originally Posted: Sept. 24, 2013 on Livin' La Vida Loca
This is an article written by a member of the SheKnows Community. The SheKnows editorial team has not edited, vetted or endorsed the content of this post. Want to join our amazing community and share your own story? Sign up here.

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