Stop emotionally eating with these top tips

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There are a host of unhealthy issues that arise from emotional eating, the obvious being weight gain, diabetes, and insomnia to name a few. If eating is purely emotional, then the person will never learn how to deal with things in a healthy manner and the behavior will continue, while the mood generally remains unstable. Here's how to control your sugar cravings to avoid gaining weight, binge eating, snacking unnecessarily and maintain a healthy mind frame:

What You'll Need

  • Kitchen stocked with healthy food and snacks
  • A journal
  • Exercise program

What You'll Do

  • Manage your stress: This is the single most important way to ditch the emotional eating. Identify, understand, and manage your stress. Stress is normal. You can either let it get the best of you, or you can control it in healthy ways such as through exercise, talking to supportive friends, enjoying a hobby, proper sleep, and proper eating.
  • Keep a food/mood journal: On a piece of paper make three columns with the following headers: 1) What type of food am I reaching for? 2) What’s my emotional state? / What’s going on in my life right now that’s leading to this emotion? 3) What’s an alternative behavior to eating the junk food? So for example, I’m reaching for ice cream. I’m so anxious about a meeting tomorrow with my manager. I will call a friend and talk it out.
  • Ask yourself: Are you feeding your body or are you feeding your emotions? Make a distinction between the two. Eating to satiate hunger and provide nutrients is vastly different than eating to satiate boredom, stress, and anxiety.
  • Don’t keep comfort foods at home: These foods would include chips, ice cream, and cookies. If they’re not at home, then you’re less likely to eat them. Instead, keep healthy alternatives nearby such as fruit slices and vegetable sticks. You might also might freeze grapes to provide a frozen treat. Or eat Greek yogurt to simulate the texture of ice cream.
  • Eat healthy: By doing so you’ll curb cravings between meals. Make sure each meal is rich in protein and well-balanced. Healthy snacks between meals will also help to maintain a healthy level of metabolism and energy levels. If need be, consult a dietician or nutritionist for advice.
  • Change your thinking: Self talk can be your worst enemy or best friend. Thinking, “I’m such an emotional mess and pig” will probably keep you stuck in unhealthy patterns while thoughts such as “I am going to take charge of my health and manage stress better” will lead to better behaviors and a healthier lifestyle.

Tips & Warnings

  • Seek the advice of a nutritional therapist or dietitian for more information on diet.
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