How To Overcome Emotional Eating
At some point, almost everyone has struggled with emotional eating.
There’s nothing wrong with an occasional indulgence, but if it becomes a habit, it can be costly – both financially, physically, and mentally. Ultimately, using emotional eating instead of finding healthier coping mechanisms can distract you from the real work of finding mental balance, so it’s important to keep it in check.
Here are some ways you can overcome emotional eating:
Emotional eating is, simply put, when your emotions, not your physical hunger, guide what you eat, how much of it you eat, and what time you eat it.
But there are ways to get yourself back into alignment with your natural hunger instincts. Here are a few ways you can kick emotional eating to the curb:
It’s important to ask yourself some questions to make sure you have an understanding of whether or not you’re emotionally eating in the first place – and if so, what’s triggering it.
- When was the last time you felt hungry?
- Do you normally eat until only until you’re full, or do you often feel too full or sluggish after eating?
- Do you eat regular meals, or do you eat at random hours throughout the day?
- Do you see food as a reward?
If you can’t remember the last time you felt hunger, or normally feel sluggish or too full after eating, that may indicate that you don’t wait until you’re hungry to eat – which may indicate that you’re eating according to your emotions instead of simply sating your natural hunger pangs.
If you don’t eat regular meals, instead eating mostly snack food throughout the day or raiding the fridge in the middle of the night, this may also indicate emotional eating as well.
While treating yourself to takeout or “junk” food on occasion is perfectly normal behavior, if you see food as a reward for completing a task at work, making it through a difficult week, etc., this may also point towards emotional eating.
Lately, the idea of “intuitive eating” has suffused the wellness world. This is a term that describes bodily awareness as its related to hunger. It involves waiting for your body to cue that it’s hungry before you start eating, and trying to give it what it needs.
A good way to start this practice is to increase your water intake. Many of us aren’t drinking enough water, and this can lead to headaches, fatigue, and more. Instead of mindlessly drinking coffee and forgetting to hydrate with water, commit to drinking the daily recommended amount of water by setting timers, buying a premeasured water bottle, etc.
Whenever you’re hungry, set aside time to focus only on eating. If you can, step away from your desk and give yourself at least 20-30 minutes to eat mindfully. This will help you stop eating whenever you feel full because you’re fully focused on the meal instead of mindlessly eating while staring at a computer screen.
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CBD has also been shown to curb anxiety, which may help you along your mindful eating journey.
Dr. Meredith Warner is the creator of Well Theory and The Healing Sole. She is a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Air Force Veteran.
She is on a mission to disrupt traditional medicine practices and promote betterment physically, spiritually and mentally to many more people. She advocates for wellness and functional health over big pharma so more people can age vibrantly with more function and less pain.
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