When negative emotions drive you to that comforting strawberry cheesecake, typically it only soothes you momentarily. If this sounds like you though, there's no need to feel bad about it.
Most people admit to reaching for their favorite chocolate bar or pack of crisps as a way to cope with negative feelings. These can be emotions such as low self esteem, loneliness, boredom, anger, stress, fear or guilt.
Emotional eating triggersA positive, healthy pattern must be established to deal with these feelings, so you don't need to use food as an escape. It's important to identify your emotional eating triggers, then learn to divert your attention to something else until the cravings subside.
Triggers can be anything that causes you stress or unhappiness. Relationships are often the cause - whether its your family, love life, friendships or even office politics. Recognizing your times of weakness will actually give you the strength to maintain your willpower when you need it.
Signs of emotional eatingHere are the top 3 signs that you are a victim of emotional eating:
- A sudden urge to eat something specific NOW (usually your favorite comfort food), when physical hunger isn't even present.
- Continuing to eat even after already full.
- Feelings of guilt after eating. If you're really eating to satisfy hunger, this does not happen.
Dealing with emotional eatingNext time you get one of those uncontrollable cravings, try a few of the following ideas. Then wait 20 minutes and hopefully your destructive cravings will vanish!
- Firstly, have some healthy, guilt free options like your favorite fruit or low fat yogurt on hand to satisfy that naughty food craving. If you have a pantry full of your favorite food, get rid of it and you won't even be tempted.
- Walking is a great way to get fit, and also combats negative feelings. Use it as a way to catch up with friends, take your dog out or just put on your iPod with your favorite tunes.
- Swimming is also fantastic for your body and very therapeutic for those negative feelings.
- Write a letter or call up someone you haven't talked to in a while.
- Meditation and Yoga are very calming ways to balance mood levels.
- Get a massage or convince your partner to give you one.
- A hot bath.
- Catch up on your cleaning, laundry, or gardening.