Do you struggle with eating too much or eating less healthy food when you’re bored, stressed or anxious? Here are 10 tips to help you get a handle on emotional eating.
1. Keep A Food Diary
Be sure to write down what, when, how much you eat, how you’re feeling and how hungry you are. This can help you to figure out if there is a connection between your mood and food intake.
2. Tame Your Stress
Instead of turning toward food, find stress relief by practicing yoga, meditation and/or deep breathing.
3. Check In With Your Hunger
Are you physically or emotionally hungry? If you just ate a couple hours ago and don’t have a growling stomach, you may not be hungry and you may just be thirsty. Drink some water and see if the craving passes.
4. Get Support
Do you have a good support system such as friends or family? If you’re lacking support, this may be a reason you’re turning toward food to cope. Find a support group or seek out the help of a registered dietitian to help you figure out an appropriate eating plan that fits your needs best.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your FFC club location and availability, and one of our RDs will reach out to you to schedule a 15 minute complimentary discovery call with you (we even accept BCBS, United and Cigna PPO for visits!).
5. Fight Boredom
Instead of eating just to pass time, take a walk, watch your favorite show, play with a pet, call a friend or read a book.
6. Take Away Temptation
If you’re someone who likes to endlessly eat potato chips or cookies when you’re stressed or bored, avoid buying foods that are triggering for you. Instead treat yourself once-twice per week to a dessert, some pizza or a burger + fries/chips. Also, if you’re feeling emotional, postpone your grocery trip so that you’re less likely to buy tempting foods.
7. Avoid Deprivation
When people try to lose weight it can lead to eating too few calories, eating the same meals often and restricting yourself from having treats. This can cause you to crave food even more. Try to eat satisfying amounts of healthier foods, enjoy an occasional treat and get plenty of variety in your diet to help curb cravings.
- Not sure how much you should be eating to support your health goals? Resting metabolic rate (RMR) testing is recommended for you to figure out exactly how much you should be eating per day. Any FFC dietitian can perform this test for you and provide you with a meal plan that meets your nutritional needs.
Related: The Truth About Intermittent Fasting
8. Have Healthy Snacks
If you feel the urge to eat between meals, have something with fiber (ex. fruit, whole grain popcorn) + something with protein/fat (ex. nut butter, eggs, Greek yogurt) to help fill you up.
9. Learn From Your Setbacks
At the end of the day we are all human and no one is a perfect eater. If you are more indulgent than usual, forgive yourself and eat healthier at the next meal. Think back to why this happened and try to have a plan for how you can prevent this in the future. Focus on all the positive changes you’re making so far and give yourself credit for striving for change to become a healthier you.
10. Seek Help If Needed
If your self-help efforts do not seem to help taming your emotional eating, consider seeing a therapist. He/she can help you understand why you emotionally eat and help you find healthier coping skills.
Post written by FFC Registered Dietitian Alicia Huggler.