If you’re anything like me, being stressed out can lead to overeating and way too many comfort foods. And more often than not, it’s followed by regret. Learning how to stop emotional eating is seriously challenging. It means diving into what going on in your mind before reaching for a distraction. But with some time and conscious effort you can start to recognize what triggers you.
I don’t personally have all the answers, but I do know that using food as a coping mechanism just delays the inevitable. You can’t keep looking outside of yourself to deal with what’s going on inside. Instead, you need to find healthier ways to deal with what you’re feeling. Here are some of the tips that have helped me.
4 tips for learning how to stop emotional eating
1. Focus on what you’re really feeling
Learning how to stop emotional eating means you need to be willing to accept what you’re actually feeling. Take the time listen to what’s going on inside. Maybe you feel stressed out, sad, or insecure. Whatever it is that you notice, take note that it’s there, let yourself feel it (but don’t dwell on it), then find a way to counter it.
Maybe that means making time for self-pampering and relaxation. Or maybe it means you plot out a plan of action to help you get through whatever is stressing you out. Think proactively about what you need to do to feel less stressed.
2. Think about your goals
Before you start to feed your emotions, take a moment to think about what it will mean for your fitness goals. If you’re trying to lose weight or tone up your bikini body, stress eating isn’t the way to get there. Ask yourself, is eating this sabotaging my goals? Am I actually hungry right now? Do I really need to eat this?
If you are actually hungry and you do need to eat something, revisiting your goals might help you re-focus your attention to eating something healthier rather than junk.
3. Show yourself some love
Comfort food can often help to fill a void that you may be feeling. And though you definitely shouldn’t beat yourself up for indulging once in a while, it’s also not a pattern you want to create. Instead, be kind to yourself. Learning to love yourself, regardless of your situation is an essential step in learning how to stop emotional eating. If your priority is to nourish and fuel your body and mind, you will find healthier more mindful ways to deal with your stress and emotions.
4. Eat slowly
For those moments where you really just need to indulge, have some chocolate or a bowl of popcorn for one, do it mindfully. None of us are perfect, so all of us from time to time will eat a little more than we intend to, or eat something when we’re really not even hungry. But when those moments do come, try to stay mindful about how quickly you’re eating. Slow things down, savour each bite and really genuinely enjoy what you are decidedly eating. It not only makes the experience more worthwhile, but the slower you eat the less likely you are to overindulge to the point of feeling sick.
Love your #innerbabe
Emotional eating is tough to overcome, so be patient with your progress. Keep healthy foods on hand in your kitchen instead of junk for those times you do overindulge, or find healthier alternatives to your go-to comfort foods.
If you’re really struggling to get control of your stress eating, recruit your friends and family to support you when things get tough. Our inner babe community is totally on board with supporting your goals as well so you never have to feel alone.
And in those moments that you do give in, don’t beat yourself up, we all do it once in a while. Just take a deep breath and be kind to yourself. The fact that you’re trying is already an amazing part of your journey.
How do you stop yourself from emotionally indulging too often? Share your tips with us in the comments below.