Emotional Eating: 6 Ways to Stop It in Its Tracks

By Nisha Moodley

In our hectic world, it is easy to become overwhelmed – and natural to seek relief.  But where do we find relief when vacations are few and far between?  How do we achieve some semblance of control when we feel so powerless?

For many of us, the answer, we think, is in our kitchens, pantries and refrigerators.  In search of control, we hope that food will soothe our emotions and put the control back in our hands.  The problem, though, is that food never provides us with the real sustainable relief and control we so dearly desire.

If you find yourself overwhelmed and overeating, here are some simple steps to get you on the road to balance:

Eat well. Eating well has as much to do with how we eat as it does with what we eat. Be sure to:

Breathe and chew. When we are calm and relaxed, our parasympathetic nervous system turns on, opening lines of communication between the brain and the gut.  Rather than going from starving to stuffed, we are in the position to experience the feeling of being satisfied – no portion control or punishment required.

Enjoy your food. No matter what you’re eating, enjoy it fully.  We are bio-programmed to seek pleasure; so, if you’re a foodie, it’s ok!  You’re simply expressing your natural inner wisdom.  When you take time to savor your food, your brain gets the satisfaction of that experience and can tell you when it’s ready to stop eating.

Elevate food quality. When we eat overly processed or poor-quality foods, our amazing super-computers (our bodies!) do some quick math and notice that something’s missing – nutrients.  For example, if you dive into a bowl of white rice, your body might wonder, “Where’s the rest?  Where is the fiber?  What about the other nutrients?”  Then, your brilliant body will devise a perfect plan: crave more of that same food until you get the rest of it. By eating a well-balanced and high-quality diet, though, you will bypass this problem.

Cravings the culprit?  Understand them more and feel driven by them less.

De-stress. If you’re an emotional eater, stress is often a major catalyst! To reduce stress and increase satisfaction:

Get your body moving. When we’re feeling stuck and stagnant, we often crave food to fill the void.  Whether it’s dancing, yoga or a walk with a friend, find something you enjoy and make it part of your routine.  If you’re just starting out, set small goals and celebrate your achievements.

Check out this must for movement motivation!

Pamper weekly (at least)! Find special ways to treat yourself and be proactive about making time to enjoy these simple pleasures.  Whether it’s a Silk Peel facial or DIY manicure, find little (and big) ways to get some pampering in.  Set a date with yourself weekly and don’t stand yourself up.  You deserve it!

To really treat yourself, try this super skin treat!

Spend time with friends and family. Sharing life with those we love means having an outlet to express ourselves – both in happy times and not-so-happy times.  Spend time relaxing and sharing with friends, rather than bottling up feelings.

The best foods to eat when tight on time!