How to stop (emotional) overeating

Unfortunately, problems with irregular and unhealthy diet are very common. One of the frequent problems with excessive weight is overeating. The easiest way to recognize that you’re eating due to your emotions is when you suddenly and often reach for snacks, sweets and other food that will not give you a feeling of satiety for a longer time as it provides a nutritionally complete meal. Also, the need for food comfort never ends, but constantly grows.

The most common causes of emotional overeating are:

Common and strong stress leads to high levels of cortisol – a stress hormone, which causes sudden desire for sweet, fatty or salty foods.

Feeding the emotions can be a way to temporarily put aside the unpleasant emotions such as anger, sadness, shame, anxiety, fear and loneliness.

Boredom makes you reach for the food, which in a short time distracts you from the original problem of dissatisfaction with your life.

Social impacts, especially at a social event with food, makes you reach for food regardless of whether you are hungry or not.

Bad habits such as arriving home from work, and almost unconsciously reaching into the fridge, regardless of whether you are hungry or not.

How to avoid overeating

Consider other activities

If you want to avoid overeating, first of all, consider what else you like doing besides eating. Make a list of everything you love to do. Relax and let your hand run wild all over the paper as you are writing down the activities you enjoy doing on your free time. Even by making the list of those activities, you are already thinking about something else than eating- and you are not overeating, so that is also a good mean to stop your problem with excessive eating. As you make the list, you can say: „When I finish this list, I’ll eat! “ It is quite okay.

Delay

At a time when you feel the emotional need for food, delaying meals at eg. 10 minutes, gives you a chance to make another decision and reconsider what are the reasons of emotional eating. As you would normally in a situation of sudden food cravings in just a few minutes eat your favorite chocolate, waiting helps you understand what led to such a situation. The delay is the best move, and in that period you can do a certain obligations or walk, to draw away the attention from the food.

Exercise, a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle

Regular exercise will encourage the hormone of happiness, help in achieving or maintaining a slim figure and give a sense of satisfaction. Moving, walking, running with a pet or any form of physical activity will give you energy to facilitate the performance of obligations during the day.

Plan your daily menu

One way to avoid uncontrolled food intake is pre-determined daily menu, for example 5 meals that you eat right at a certain time during the day. It is not recommended to skip snacks like apples or bananas, because it is these large gaps between meals provide space for entering the unhealthy foods that you do not need. It is good to avoid eating a meal where you doing something like eg. TV is distracting and it is preferable not to work any additional actions while you are eating.

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