12 ways You can beat Emotional Eating

I recently had a member of our #couchpotatotofabfit Facebook group ask the members for advice on how to combat Emotional eating.  She had been experiencing some problems in her life and found it difficult not to ‘fall off the healthy eating bandwagon’.

emotional eating

Emotional eating is quite common and there are many reasons why we turn to food for comfort.  You aren’t alone!

  • Life gets hectic so we don’t make the effort to cook, we turn to takeout or quick meals or snacks.
  • Food provides comfort – we all know how good eating chocolate makes us feel!
  • Life is overwhelming and we just want to curl up under the covers with a tub of ice cream, or chips or a chocolate bar.
  • You feel bored or disinterested in life
  • You are stressed
  • Childhood habits

Unfortunately, it becomes a vicious cycle – problems, eating unhealthy, feeling bad because we aren’t eating healthy so we reach for another chocolate bar.

You can break the cycle of emotional eating – it can be difficult but you can put strategies in place to help yourself.

Here are My 10 tips to beat emotional eating and feel good about yourself.

#1 Don’t beat yourself up 

Here is a surprise for you – YOU ARE HUMAN AND NOT PERFECT!  We all fall off the healthy eating bandwagon – that is life.  If you are having a difficult time don’t beat yourself up about it but rather be determined to do better.  Just because you had one lapsed day doesn’t mean you need to continue down that path.

#2 – Make short term goals.

Sometimes we have a goal – losing weight or eating healthier and it just seems unattainable. We put pressure on ourselves or unrealistic expectations.  Try breaking down your main goal into bite sized pieces (oops there is a pun).  Make a deal with yourself  and say ‘okay I’m going to eat healthy for the next 2 days’. YOU CAN DO IT! and once you have achieved that then repeat.

#3 – Remove the temptation

It is easy to grab for an unhealthy alternative if it is in your pantry.  Remove as much unhealthy food as you can and stock up on healthy snacks – if it isn’t there you won’t be tempted as much.

#4 – Write down everything you eat or drink

record what you eat and drink

For a week, write down everything you eat or drink.  You will be surprised that you might start to hear a little voice in your head asking ‘Do you really want to eat that?’ when you write down chocolate bar or chips etc and psychologically you might think twice before you choose what to eat or drink.

#5 – Drink a glass of water

You think you feel hungry, however sometimes your body is telling you that you are dehydrated.  If you feel hungry, drink a large glass of water instead.

#6 – Exercise

Nothing takes the mind off food better than exercise.  If you feel tempted to eat an unhealthy snack go for a 10 minute walk (or longer) instead. You will be surprised that at the end you don’t feel hungry anymore and you actually feel mentally great.

#7 – Don’t skip meals.

Skipping meals is a bit ‘NO-NO’. It is easy to grab something easy if you are hungry. Make sure you start the day with a substantial breakfast which will give you the energy to take on the day.  Take your lunch to work rather than buying it and then have a smaller dinner.  Pack some healthy snacks as well rather than using the vending machine.

#8 – Be prepared

be prepared

Make up some healthy snacks and meals in advance so you have those to eat rather than unhealthy food.  Perhaps set aside one day per week to prepare so that if you don’t feel like cooking at least you have a healthy meal or snack ready to go.

There are so many healthy recipe ideas on the internet for main meals and snacks there really is no excuse not to make them.

#9 – Reflect on what is happening in your life

Emotional eating is caused by what is happening in your life at the moment or pe.  Try to take time out to examine what is happening in your life that is making you unhappy.  Is there a way to make changes?  Is there a way to work through it?

#10 – Phone a friend

True Friends are always there for you If you are feeling ‘down’, rather than reach for food, reach for the phone and call a friend for a chat.  You will feel better and won’t need that unhealthy snack after all.

#11 – Treat yourself

If you read my blog you will know that I’m all about Balance.  That means that you don’t need to cut out ‘treats’ altogether.  It just means that you should learn to regard certain foods as ‘treats’ and not as everyday foods.  Allow yourself a ‘treat day’ and savour it.  Enjoy every mouthful and appreciate the taste.

Alternatively, why does a treat have to be food?  Treat yourself to a massage or mani/pedi – something that makes you feel special.

#12 – Ask for help

If you are feeling overwhelmed with life don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional.  

There is no shame in asking for help and talking through your thoughts and feelings.Click To Tweet

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35 thoughts on “12 ways You can beat Emotional Eating

  1. Leanne

    I know emotional eating is a weakness for me (I’d get fatter being sad – not thinner!) so I try to make good choices as often as possible and now and then when life gets too hard, I allow myself a treat and that stops me going crazy and eating the whole pantry! Hope you’re managing well during this sad time for your family Sue xx

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Yes you need to have a treat otherwise you binge completely – or that is what I find anyway. Life is a little hard at the moment so I probably need to read my own post about emotional eating!

      Reply
  2. Melinda Mitchell

    Bloggers Pit Stop
    What great ideas to combat this problem! I emotionally eat for ALL those reason, except the boredom- none of that here!
    I drink constantly. I have my water bottle by me at all times!
    I don’t think I could write down everything I eat and drink, I’m lazy too.
    I do go to counseling once a week. That does help so much!!
    And I pray!

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Top marks for the water bottle Melinda! I’m sure there are many ways to combat emotional eating and whatever works for you is the way to go. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

      Reply
  3. Charlotte

    Some helpful tips. I struggle big time with this. Usually Boredom, I skip meals and then eat a load of s**t in the evenings. I am taking small steps to rectifying this, setting my self small manageable goals to work towards a bigger end goal #mg

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Thanks Charlotte – I’m a boredom eater if I analyze myself. We do what we can and even small changes are better than none. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

      Reply
  4. janice wald

    Hi Sue,
    Important tips. I try to do all these things but I still fail at times and overeat comfort food. Is awareness the first step toward recovery? =)
    Thanks for bringing your post to the Blogger’s Pit Stop last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      We all have lapses Janice I know I do, but I think you are right awareness is the first step to acknowledging the problem and then working towards ways to solve it. Thanks for another great link up.

      Reply
  5. Hannah @Sunshine and Spoons

    I am definitely an emotional eater. When my medically complex son was born, I found that every time he cried (which was ALWAYS), I would have a sudden urge to stuff my face. So I did and I gained 30 pounds in his first year. Now that things have gotten better with him, I’m losing the weight 🙂

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Hi Hannah! Thanks for stopping by. I’m pleased to hear that you son is getting better. It is so difficult to keep yourself on track when your child is seriously ill. You will lose that weight just be kind to yourself. xx

      Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Yes I love food Marilyn and we live in a society where food is such a focus for celebration and commiseration. It certainly is hard to be ‘good’. x

      Reply
  6. Rosemond

    I love these tips, especially making really small doable goals. I’m so going to try the “eat healthy for 2 days” and then repeat. I set goals like lose 10 pounds and then get off track. Even I can stay on track for 2 days!!

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Yes Rosemond sometimes we just make goals that are just too hard. I’m sure you can stay on track for 2 days! You’ve got this!

      Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Of course Bill I forget about the ‘retail therapy’ attitude people have. I’m not much of a shopper thank goodness but emotional shopping does exist.

      Reply
  7. Lizzie firstooth

    Really great tips. My problem is my hubby who buys tons of treats because he never gains a pound. But when I just sniff the things I gain ten! We’re quite prepared but I think we detour from our usual meal plans a little too often and for the sake of my kiddies to I may have to bring in a once a week treat rule. My kiddies don’t often eat these things but it’s not good to see mummy hiding in the fridge scoffing them! #mg

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      It is hard Lizzie and we all need treats the trick or problem is to try to limit them. It isn’t easy to stop at one piece of chocolate I know!

      Reply
  8. wendy

    Great tips! I am so guilty of eating just because I am bored or doing the big shop when I’m hungry and ending up buying biscuits and chocolate and other food I don’t really want in the house. Really useful post 🙂 xx #mg

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Yes shopping when hungry is a sure way to by those foods that probably aren’t great for us. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post and remember every day is a new day.

      Reply
  9. Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle

    Well said Sue. Not beating up on yourself is good. I told my doctor that I was naughty, he said ‘No, you are human’. This was over something he had asked me to do and I didn’t do it 🙁 Very kind of him.
    All your other points are spot on too.

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      We are always so hard on ourselves because we feel society expects that. We just need to remember Kathleen as you doctor rightly pointed out – we are only human. At least if we keep trying that is the main thing. Have a great week my friend.

      Reply
  10. Wendy

    I am both an emotional eater and a boredom eater. I eat much less if I am away from home. #4, 6, and 7 are the biggest helps for me. I drink enough water already to float a boat, so that stopped working for me a long time ago. That said, if I drink something else “with a taste” (diet soda, iced tea, etc.), it will often curb the craving. (Since I am sitting here thinking about the chocolate chip cookies I made yesterday and a glass of milk, I should probably go for another walk! 😉 )

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Oh Wendy you are funny! I’m a fan of chocolate chip cookies as well but having run 19kms yesterday I think I deserved one LOL:)

      Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Thank you Deb and it is just a matter of trying not to turn to food all the time. I find exercise not only helps me forget about snacking but I feel fabulous afterwards.

      Reply
  11. Mackenzie Glanville

    I adore food but way too much, I don’t actually think i am an emotional eater, it is more just that I love eating. If I am down I am less likely to eat, but if I watch TV I snack way too much! Thanks for sharing on #mg ether is some awesome advice here.

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Yes the TV/Movie time is a killer isn’t it Mackenzie? I love food too that is why I exercise so much! LOL:)

      Reply
  12. Alison @ Tickling the Wheat

    This is awesome advice. Removing the temptation is the only thing that keeps me from eating poorly. I’ve even had to make my husband hide cookies on top of the fridge where I wouldn’t be able to reach them! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Hi Alison, I suppose we have to do what we have to do. My husband is a bit of a midnight snacker so we have to keep them to the minimum. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

      Reply
  13. Terri Webster Schrandt

    These are fantastic tips, and even just incorporating a few of them into your life makes all the difference! With Weight Watchers, many of these tips are discussed at he meetings we attend. Drinking water (or lo/no-calorie drinks) and being prepared are two tips that work for me. Sometimes simply taking a nap (a luxury for some), can stave off “hunger” pangs! Well-done, Sue!

    Reply

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