Emotional eating and overeating can’t really satisfy an insatiable appetite anyway.
And whether or not you’ve been trying to use emotional eating to soothe feelings of stress, depression, loneliness, frustration or boredom, in the long run, overeating to feed those feelings only makes them worse.
But learning how to stop overeating and control emotional eating can support healthy permanent weight loss and make you feel powerful.
Stop Emotional Eating – Don’t Use Foods to Soothe Moods
You probably already know that overeating high-fat, high-calorie, sweet, salty and unhealthy bad carbs won’t fill that empty void inside for long.
But what can you do to learn how to stop emotional overeating?
Most of us learn emotional eating at a very young age. We get into the habit of using food to sooth stressful feelings, alleviate boredom, reward and comfort ourselves, boost our sprits and celebrate with others.
But even though almost everyone’s overeating, you don’t have to. If you’re ready to take that old-frenzied feed-your-feelings bull by the horns, here’s our basic 12 step program for how to stop emotional eating.
1. Make a commitment. Like any established bad habit, nothing will change unless you make a commit to changing your behavior.
2. Practice awareness. To be more conscious of what’s happening, jot down when and what you eat and how you feel before and afterwards.
3. Manage your stress. Healthy emotional distress management is an important life skill. Positive ways to reduce stress include regular exercise, relaxation techniques and getting support from family and friends.
4. Be physically active. Exercise reduces stress and is a great mood enhancer too. So be sure you make time for regular physical activity.
5. Create new comforts. Make a list of healthy activities you enjoy. And, whenever you feel the need, treat yourself to something on your list.
6. Start eating healthier. When you eat for health you’ll choose more high fiber foods, such as vegetables, beans, whole grains and fresh fruits, plus healthy high protein foods, like fish, lean poultry and low-fat dairy.
7. Eat mini-meals often. By eating 5 or 6 small healthy meals a day, including breakfast, you help keep your blood sugar and moods stable.
8. Get rid of temptations. Don’t keep unhealthy food in the house, don’t shop for food when hungry or stressed and plan ahead before eating out.
9. Get enough sleep. When you’re tired, it’s easier to give in to emotional eating. Consider taking a nap and be sure to get a good nights sleep.
10. Use healthy distraction. Instead of overeating, take a walk, surf the Internet, pet your cat or dog, listen to music, enjoy a warm bath, read a good book, watch a movie, work in the garden or talk to a friend.
11. Practice mindfulness. Mindful eating means paying attention to the act of eating and observing your thoughts and feelings in the process.
12. Get some support. It’s easier to control emotional eating if you have a support network of friends or family. And if no one you know is supportive, make some new health-oriented friends or join a support group.
Learning how to stop emotional eating and overeating is a life-changing experience. Just make sure to stay on track and enjoy the journey.
More Commonsense Health For You:
“Refined” Bad Carb Sweet Sugar Death
The Glycemic Diet of Low Glycemic Foods
Top 10 Healthiest Foods for Eating Healthy Meals
Healthy Permanent Weight Loss Strategies that Work
Wing RR, Hill JO. The Annual Review of Nutrition. Successful weight loss maintenance. Annu Rev Nutr 2001; 21:323–41.
Mozaffarian D, Hao T, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Hu FB. New England Journal of Medicine. Specific dietary and other lifestyle behaviors for preventing long-term weight gain in women and men. N Engl J Med 2011;364:2392-404.
Swithers SE, Davidson TL. Behavioral Neuroscience. A role for sweet taste: calorie predictive relations in energy regulation by rats. Behav Neurosci 2008;122:161-173.
Patel SR, Hu FB. National Weight Control Registry. Short sleep duration and weight gain: a systematic review. National Weight Control Registry Obesity 2008;16:643–53.
Ebbeling CB, Feldman HA, Osganian SK, Chomitz VR, Ellenbogen SJ, Ludwig DS. Pediatrics. Effects of decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption on body weight in adolescents: a randomized, controlled pilot study. Pediatrics 2006;117:673-80.