Overloaded by work, family or emotional problems, it’s not uncommon for us to reach out for that pack of chips or that bar of chocolate. Stress eating or otherwise known as emotional eating, we have all been there.
When all you need is a distraction, eating can be a huge comfort. But eating to satisfy emotional needs, rather than satisfy physical hunger can come at a price. While the real issue is not really addressed, you are becoming reliant on a primary emotional coping mechanism—with your first impulse being to open the refrigerator whenever you’re stressed, upset, angry, lonely, exhausted, or bored— you are stuck in an unhealthy cycle.
Luckily, recognising the symptoms of emotional eating is a start and the next big step will be to work on the problem. Here are some ideas to keep you back on track.
Awareness is the most powerful aspect of change. While reading this article is a great first step of awareness, recognising that you have an issue that needs to be solve and then educating yourself will be the next step.
A great way to keep your eating habit track is to maintain a food journal either digitally or in a written journal and make sure you log what you eat. If you realise that you are eating more than you need for the wrong reasons, move on to dealing with your habits.
Sometimes, it is just so simple. Let it out. Talking to a family or friend can be a great way of relieving stress and it also acts as a distraction. Arrange for a movie session or an exercise session may just prove to not only tackle the stress issue but also up the fun factor.
You will be surprised by how a little walk outside can change you. Make it a habit to be outdoor at least for 15 to 30 minutes a day. It could be the walk home from the train station or bus stop or just sitting by the bench and looking at the car goes by. Research has shown that a walk outside not only calm the nerves but also simulate brain activity.
If all else fails (or actually to gradually introduce changes,) switch your snacks to healthier options. Try having more fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt or unbuttered popcorn. Gradually as you start cutting down, you will realise your body is becoming less reliant on snacks and you will have better control of what you eat.