Do you feel like you have a never-ending battle with the scale? Tired of constant weight gain? It could be that the cause of your weight gain is emotional overeating.
What is emotional overeating?
Emotional eating is a complex subject, but there are key elements that are easy to spot.
Emotional overeating is a disordered eating that is characterized by the need or compulsion to eat even if you’re full.
It tends to be a reaction to negative emotions and thoughts. It’s also seen as a coping strategy for those who are under stress or who have suffered abuse. Food often provides comfort for emotional eaters. But the comfort is only temporary! Emotional overeating can sabotage your diet and weight-loss goals. It can also negatively affect your health.
Luckily, there are simple steps you can take today to stop emotional overeating.
Try these strategies:
Figure out your triggers.
In many cases, emotional overeating is triggered by an event, thought, or feeling. If you can figure out your triggers, then it will be easier to take control of them and stop them from encouraging you to overeat.
The most common triggers are negative emotions and stress. Other triggers can be difficult days at work, fights with your family or partner, and issues with friends or coworkers. Going to therapy may also help you deal with the triggers.
Try to eat only when you’re hungry.
Teach your body to accept food only when you’re really hungry instead of viewing it as a constant source of comfort. This step will take time, as it is difficult to change your eating habits. However, you can take small steps to make dietary changes. Learn to listen to your body and watch for real hunger.
Create alternative plans.
For example, if you find yourself overeating after a difficult meeting at work each week, try to plan ahead and try to prevent that. Try to replace it with a more positive action that also brings you comfort or reduces your stress. By creating alternative plans that don’t involve eating, you will be setting yourself up for diet success.
For example, plan a long walk or gym workout after work to de-stress. Instead of turning to the fridge and ice cream after an argument, you can watch your favorite show on TV or talk to your friends on the phone.
The key is to find other ways to deal with stress and negative emotions.
Surround yourself with people who care.
One of the main reasons many people turn to emotional overeating is because they feel like they don’t have a support network. Do you feel alone and isolated? Ask family, friends, colleagues, etc. for help. Build a strong support network around you to help you deal with negativity and stress.
Find someone you can call or visit without worrying that you’re intruding or upsetting them. Be prepared to offer them support in return. Talk to friends and family about emotional overeating and help them understand why you overeat. Discuss effective techniques to motivate you to stick to your diet and exercise plan. They can remind you of these when you need help, without judging you or being critical.
Emotional overeating doesn’t have to control your life. You can work on it and overcome it with these simple strategies.
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