Dealing With the Cause of Emotional Eating

Contributed by: Amanda Albiar, NCSF-CPT

If high stress situations and emotions are sending you straight to the fridge, you are not alone. But if you think the solution to your problems is at the bottom of a pint of ice cream….then pay attention.

Food is not the solution to whatever is making you feel angry, sad, pressured, or anxious. In fact, unhealthy, emotional eating leads to weight gain and self-loathing. The key to stopping this kind of eating is to identify and understand the triggers. What is it you feel and why you are feeling this way. Keep a journal or online food diary to record what you are eating, and how you feel when you eat it. Then, you have to work on dealing with your emotions…without food. To break the self-destructive cycle of emotional eating, you have to create awareness and then implement a game plan.

Here’s what you can do: Before you eat anything….ask yourself two questions: Are you hungry?
Are you depressed or anxious? Then ask the following question: Can you find an appropriate way to address whatever emotions you uncovered instead of suppressing them? If you can address the emotion in the moment by acting on it directly and positively, seize the opportunity to do so. For example….can you call a person and talk it through? Or if you are feeling anxious about a deadline….can you break down the work into manageable parts, so you feel more on top of the progress?

Using food as an emotional relief is easy in the short term but extremely detrimental in the long term. Facing problems right on, and looking them in the eye is difficult, but once you begin to probe beneath your behavior and analyze your feelings, it gets easier and easier.

Sourced: October 2015

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