What Is Emotional Eating?
Emotional eating has nothing to do with being hungry. It can be triggered by overall life stress, or specific triggers, such as an argument with a spouse or a family member. It is a coping mechanism that offers temporary relief and comfort when you’re having a hard time.
You may be less of an emotional eater, and more of an unconscious eater. Unconscious eaters don't necessarily eat in response to a specific trigger; they eat without thinking. If you are an unconscious eater, you may be under constant stress, and you may be really busy. You probably eat "on the run" and you also may eat while doing mindless activities, such as watching television. You don't really think about eating, but you do it a lot.
How Can I Stop Emotional Eating?
One of the most important things you can do to help yourself is to be aware that you do it, and to stop beating yourself up over it. That will absolutely never work. Bringing your attention and awareness to your eating and what the triggers are can be uncomfortable, but necessary. If you can, keep a journal. What triggered your feeling that you need to eat right now? How did you feel afterwards?
When you have the urge to eat that piece of cake or leftover pizza or whatever it is, ask yourself: Am I hungry right now? Have I eaten recently? Did something just happen that upset me? Now, delay your eating. Wait at least 15 minutes. Go take a walk, do some push ups or call a friend.
If you are an unconscious eater, make a rule that you can only eat at the kitchen table.
Ironically enough, one way to deal with emotional eating is to exercise. It gives you something else to do, it lifts your spirits and it reduces stress. The Downtown Athletic Club is a state of the art gym that features tons of group classes, personal trainers and certified massage therapists. Call today or come by and check us out.