5 Ways to Stop Emotional Eating (Without Feeling Sad)
You’ll Feel Better if You Stop Emotional Eating!
When you’re feeling stressed or worried, it’s comforting to turn to food. Emotional eating is when you eat food rather than accepting the stress or doing something to change the situation.
Of course, it’s not a healthy way to deal with stress. Also, you’ll probably gain weight, feel depressed and suffer low self-esteem.
So here are 5 tips to end emotional eating so you can deal with stress in a healthier way.
1. Get outside!
When you’re stressed and / or depressed, you need a quick boost of endorphins (feel-good hormones).
And the easiest way to get them is to go for a walk outdoors. Or a run or a cycle. Outdoors is always better than indoors when it comes to exercise, especially if you can be close to nature. Even if it’s just some trees on the sidewalk or pavement, or some flowers in a neighbor’s garden, you’ll reap more benefits than if you exercise indoors.
But, the key is to be active.
Indoors, enjoy a fitness game (e.g. Nintendo), or do a short home workout.
The more active you are, the quicker you’ll get those endorphins flowing and the better you’ll feel. (And then you won’t need “comfort” food).
2. Food Choices
Common foods for stressful times are chips or crisps, chocolate or anything sweet. But when you’re stressed, you need healthy foods to help your body to cope better.
Perhaps keep a food diary – it might help you to identify what leads you to reach for junk food.
Also, if you don’t have junk food in the house, then it’s more effort to go and get it. So don’t keep junk food at home.
But DON’T eliminate all your favorite foods!
Instead, try to make healthier choices, by swapping your junk food for healthy food. A tub of yogurt is convenient and easy, and so is a piece of fruit. Or make a quick smoothie.
You’ll feel better, and eating healthy foods decreases your appetite and improves your overall health.
The third tip to end stressful eating is to meditate. Meditation is a powerful tool to lower your stress levels and help you feel relaxed and soothed. Even 5 minutes of meditation can help you feel better!
Try to meditate a little every day to cope with stress.
It also helps with emotional eating, because you will have a new outlet to turn to instead of eating.
4. Prevent Boredom
Many people eat when they’re bored (I do). It can be quite unconscious!
Try to plan ahead, so that you have something to do when you have time on your hands.
A jigsaw, a good book, art supplies so you can draw, are all great things to have on hand.
Alternatively, knitting, carpentry, creating healthy meals, learning a new language, visiting family or friends, or chatting to them on Zoom – or of course, going for a walk, will keep you occupied and engaged, so you won’t be thinking about food.
5. Get Support
We all need some support to get through stressful times. Calling a friend or family member for support is a great option to help overcome emotional eating.
Alternatively, you could join a support group or sign up for some therapy to help you to identify your stressors and food triggers. From there, you can create a plan that works for you.
Support groups are useful because you will be surrounded by other people who are trying to overcome the same issues as you which can be inspiring and uplifting.
Remember these 5 tips next time you feel down or stressed. There are excellent alternatives to food that will make you feel better – in the short AND the long term!
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