Emotional or not, eating should never be a source of stress. Give yourself the permission to eat, and remove any negativity that’s associated with it.
Emotional eating can be draining, and is one of the hardest things to manage. Notice we don’t use the word “control”, because the need for control is one of the reasons we struggle in the first place.
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to excessive eating because it’s complex and different for everyone.
Some people just need a habit readjustment, whereas some need deeper emotional work or therapy to address their underlying issues. But no matter what your situation is, you’re not alone. To start managing your emotional eating around food, try integrating some (or all) of these tips:
1. Don’t be hard on yourself if food comforts you.
Just like a hot bath or a nap, remind yourself that using food for comfort sometimes is OK! It’s not the end of the world, and can play a role in your self-care. There’s a stigma that “if you eat anything to try and feel better, that’s bad. You’ve done something horrible, and you should be guilty and ashamed.”
Let’s all just chill out for a second, and remember that eating can be one of the ways to comfort ourselves. Give yourself permission, and take the negative label off it. Enjoy the bite, be one with the food, be comforted by it, and then move on! The sooner we normalize it, the less it will seem “bad”, and the less guilt you will have.
2. Be mindful of your decision to emotionally eat.
If you are stressed and want to eat, say to yourself: “I am making the decision to eat for comfort, stress isn’t making the decision for me”. This will bring you back to earth and reduce your likelihood of going overboard because you’re managing your expectation of how food relates to your emotions.
By being more mindful of what you are doing and how you’re feeling. Slow down, and actually enjoy the food. Being mindful is all about stopping to address your thoughts and feelings, and being aware of the food you’re eating so you’re less likely to go overboard.
3. Stimulate one of your other four senses.
A lot of us eat food, why? Because it tastes delicious, feels amazing in our our mouths. That’s a sense, but remember there are four other senses we can be using for comfort! You’ve got your eyes, your ears, your sense of smell, and your sense of touch. These senses are meant to comfort you, and to give you awareness of what’s going on externally.
Let’s stimulate our senses in another way: look at pretty pictures, listen to great music, surround yourself in a soft blanket, light a candle with your favorite scent. By really stimulating your senses, you can bring that intense comfort in other ways.
Remember, it’s perfectly acceptable to comfort yourself with food because it’s part of being human. Food is supposed to be enjoyable, so why wouldn’t you want that for yourself if you’re feeling down?
Just be mindful about what you’re doing, and make the decision to do whatever it is that you need to feel better instead of agonizing over it.
Life’s too short to stress.
For more tips on how to manage emotional eating, head to the original article.
Christin Morgan, MS, RD, CSG is a Michigan-based Registered Dietitian who specializes in helping women regain body confidence without diets in her virtual private practice. As the founder of the #MyDietRebellion, she loves helping women get away from the number on the scale as a measure of success, and putting the excitement back into nutrition as a method of righteous self care. Learn more about Christin and the#MyDietRebellion movement.