girl eating a donut
Health Mindful Eating

3 Tips to Help Stop Emotional Eating

How often do you find yourself reaching for a cookie or bag of chips because you’re bored? Or maybe you’re stressed out. Or you’ve just had a fight with a friend or significant other, and food helps solve that problem.

Are you a stress eater? Or do you eat when you're bored? Follow these three simple tips to help you stop emotional eating, let go of your ties to food and regain control of your life. #healthylifestyle #weightloss #emotionaleatertips #intuitiveeating #mindfuleating

I know I’ve done it before. I’m a huge boredom eater. It might be a Sunday afternoon where I don’t have a lot going on, and I find myself heading to the kitchen almost every hour.

I’m not actually hungry, but I can’t seem to stop wanting to eat a little something here and there. It doesn’t seem that bad initially, but then I find myself overly full, but never fully satisfied.

Emotional eating, whether it’s from boredom, stress, or otherwise, has three key steps to help begin the process of stopping it.

3 Key Steps to Stop Emotional Eating

Step 1: Acknowledge and Recognize the Trigger

Trigger, what do you mean by trigger?

What I mean by trigger is the thing that’s making you eat even when you’re not hungry. That thing that drives your emotional eating.

Imagine you have a fight with your significant other. You’re feeling super down on yourself, maybe angry, or a little bit hurt. So you head to the pantry, drive-thru, or ice cream shop {you get the picture}. And you have whatever food you think might make you feel better.

But here’s the problem.

woman sitting at a table about to eat her meal

While that food, in the moment, makes you feel better, it’s actually not solving your problem. Or even what triggered you to eat in the first place: the fight.

Your significant other is still at home. You still have to face that person after your drive-thru run.

Sure, the food can help you to calm down and maybe take the edge off a bit, but how often does it actually solve your problem? Likely not very often {unless you have a magic burger that can solve all the world’s problems}.

But I can imagine you’re now actually maybe feeling worse. Likely because you ate something you weren’t craving or your body didn’t need. You’re overly full, and you still have to talk out your problem.

Which leads us to step two of our emotional eating journey.

Step 2: Change your reaction

Food is likely a major source of comfort for you, am I right? Whether it’s for a celebration, family get-together, when you’re sad, or even when you’re bored.

There are a lot of emotions tied to eating. When you’ve followed a strict diet, eating out of boredom, sadness or stress, can cause even more of those stressful feelings.

girl sitting/meditating, looking out over the water

So when you got in that fight with your significant other {the trigger}, your immediate reaction is to reach for that source of comfort {food}.

Except, now you’re not only feeling bad about the fight you just had; you’re now also feeling bad about what you ate. Not a great combination to have.

So now it’s time to change your reaction to the trigger. You’ve started to recognize just what it is that’s making you eat when you’re not actually hungry. Now that you know what that trigger is, you have the opportunity to change your reaction.

Instead of heading to the drive-thru or the pantry, go for a walk. Get some fresh air to help clear your head. Take a shower or bath to release some steam. Your best ideas come to you in the shower. So, it’s the perfect opportunity to calm down and think through the fight you just experienced.

Journaling or meditating are also excellent options for working through your feelings, that don’t involve food. It helps you hone in on what the fight was actually about. Which will help you to see the other side of things, rather than just your own.

Talk to a friend or therapist to gain an outsiders perspective on what’s going on. Try to really listen in an unbiased manner to get clarity on what’s happening between you and your partner.

Changing this reaction every time you experience that specific trigger will help you to stop using food as that comfort and emotional support system.

Step 3: Repeat the process to stop emotional eating

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This may seem like a silly step, but it’s honestly really important.

The best way to end emotional eating is to constantly follow the two main steps above. Because when it comes down to it, you need to be able to recognize the triggers that cause your emotional eating.

As you continue to recognize those triggers, you’re able to change your reaction.

After a period of time {and this amount of time is different for every person}, your reaction to your trigger will no longer be food" quote

After a period of time {and this amount of time is different for every person}, your reaction to your trigger will no longer be food.

You’ll have conditioned yourself to react to that trigger by going for a walk, journaling, working out or anything else you choose.

Again, it takes time. This change is not going to happen overnight. So repeating the process every time you experience your trigger is really important.

If you haven’t gone through the Piece of Mind signature program and you’re struggling with the emotional eating side, I highly suggest focusing on Module #10.

We focus on navigating negative triggers which plays into emotional eating.


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