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Your mind is the most complex part of who you are and emotions can affect so many different areas of your life, including your eating habits. Managing your weight would be so much simpler if nothing affected your food choices other than hunger, but unfortunately that is not the case. Emotions play a big role when it comes to what you eat, when you eat and how much you eat. Emotional eating is the one thing holding many people back from achieving the body they love, so I’ve outlined five simple but powerful tips that can help you tame emotional eating and get you on your way to a healthy, diet free life!

1) Discover your emotional cues

Ifyouknowyouareanemotionaleater,thefirststepin conquering this challenge is to discover what your emotional triggers are. This will allow you to not only be more in tune with your mind and body, but will help you come up with alternative ways to tackle your emotions down the road. A great way to start is by keeping a food journal. Throughout the day, write down what you eat, how much you eat and what you were feeling before and after every meal and snack. Were you feeling hungry or were you feeling bored, sad, happy, stressed or angry? After you ate were you satisfied or were you feeling guilty, overfull or ashamed? Now take a look at your responses. Were there emotions that were fueling your eating rather than true physical hunger? What were you really feeling? The first step to taming emotional eating is to identify your emotional triggers.

2) Engagein daily stress management

Stressisprobablythenumberonecontributorto emotional eating for many people. Engaging in activities to manage your stress on a daily basis will help you avoid emotional eating as you will be relieving your stress in healthier ways. Exercise is a great stress management activity; it helps manage your stress AND your weight. Try activities such as walking or running, going for a bike ride, putting on an exercise tape or making a trip to your local gym. It is also very relaxing to head to your neighborhood park and go for a walk, run or just sit and enjoy the scenery. Other stress management activities include yoga, meditation, taking a long bath, lighting scented candles, listening to music or taking a scenic drive.

3) Fight boredom without food

Itissoeasytoturntoyourkitchencabinetswhenyouare home and bored with nothing to do but this is also a quick way to pack on the pounds. If you are one of the many people who tend to eat when you are bored, there are several ways you can tame your boredom without food. Distract yourself from the kitchen by hanging out in your bedroom, watch a movie, read a book, play with your pet, take your dog for a walk, write in a journal, listen to music, surf the internet, clean the house or make a plan with a friend. There is an endless list of things you can do to tackle your boredom that doesn’t involve food, so get creative!

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4) Don’t Deprive Yourself of the Foods You Love

One of the best ways to maintain a healthy relationship with food and avoid emotional binge eating is to allow yourself to eat the foods you love in moderation. If you are trying to lose weight, you likely limit your calories, eat the same foods every day and avoid treats you love at all costs. Keeping a strict diet like this will set you up for emotional eating because your food cravings become heightened, making it easy for your emotions to take over. Allow yourself to eat a little bit of your favorite foods when you crave them. Taming your cravings can help you tame emotional eating!

tame emotional eating

5) Build a social support network

Ratherthanturningtofood,leanonfriendsandfamilyfor social support. Having healthy supportive relationships in your life is so helpful in taming your emotions. You should always have someone you can talk to and lean on for help when you are feeling any kind of emotional stress. If you feel you need extra support for your mental well-being, look into support groups or even professional mental health counselors to help you understand your emotions and learn new coping skills. There is no shame in getting help to better your health and better your life!

Emotional eating is complex and requires focus, determination and the right support system. Start with these 5 tips above and don’t hesitate to reach out if you need more help.

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
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