Recognize and Stop Emotional Eating

By: MN Nikk

Emotional eating is one of the biggest threats to every dieter. As the level of sugar in the blood drops some time after a meal and hunger sets in, the body requires more food. When bad news strike out of nowhere and your thoughts are colored by negative feelings, the body asks for a treat to take the edge off. When depression sets in and the world looks unappealing, your mind is certain that a box of chocolates or some other delicious food is the very thing that can make the bad mood go away. This is emotional eating and this is what makes it such a fearsome enemy.

What you can do to fight it is to take control of your eating and keep an eye on your behavior. Whenever you think you're hungry, you need to stop yourself the moment you started to head for the fridge. It's important to learn to stop yourself and ask yourself in that moment, "Am I actually hungry?" A part of you will try to make this move as inconspicuous as possible, but it's crucial to recognize it for what it is. So ask yourself: Is your stomach growling? Do you feel weak? Are you tired? If not, then you don't need food.

The next step is to understand what has caused such a behavior in the first place. Take a good look at yourself and try to determine your emotional state. Explore your feelings and see why you felt the need to eat. If, in fact, you're not hungry, and you've eaten an hour or two ago then you certainly don't need food. So take a look and see what's there. Maybe you're going through a breakup, you've lost a job or a friend and you feel sad or angry. Maybe there is a chance of such things happening in the near future and you live in a state of anxiety that makes you eat when there's no need to.

Once you've recognized the root of the problem you need to face it in order to conquer it. That means that you've got to look at it and ask yourself: "Can this issue be resolved by me? Is there anything I can do to make things OK?". If it's up to you to solve the issue, then by all means do so and get over it. Removing the cause will put an end to the need to find comfort in eating. If you can't solve it then try to find something else that makes you feel good, such as watching your favorite movies or pursuing a hobby.

And if such tactics simply don't work, at least make a healthy choice. Instead of buying that big box of chocolates, get some sugar-free candy. Skip hamburgers and fast food and instead eat a lot of vegetables that have high fiber content. They will make your stomach feel full but will not make you fat. Just remember: when all else fails, at least make the healthier choice.

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