While people may think eating is solely an enjoyable part of everyone’s day, many people struggle with emotional eating, a negative eating behavior that is fueled by the suppression of your emotions. This is also referred as binge eating. Using food as a coping mechanism creates an unhealthy relationship with your mind and body. People are often triggered by conflicts in their work, personal life, health, or lack of sleep. This negative habit can halt any desire to get into shape and even cause health issues down the road. Taking control of your eating habits when you’re feeling down will improve your self esteem and help you enjoy eating again.
Here are 10 tips on helping you to stop binge eating to suppress your emotions and start to enjoy what you eat.
1. Log what you’re eating
In order to fully understand the depth of your unhealthy eating habits, it’s important to document everything you eat on daily basis. To physically look at how much you’re consuming, when you’re consuming it, and what is the exact trigger for over consumption will give yourself a more objective perspective regarding any unhealthy behavior. This way, you can begin to find which patterns to work on breaking.
2. Understand your hunger
If you have the urge to eat out of the blue, take a second to think over the last time you ate. Take out your food log and remind yourself how long your last meal/snack was so you can figure out if this is an emotional craving, or if you’re actually hungry for a snack/next meal. These cravings will be difficult to ignore in the beginning, but it’s important to let them pass.
3. Rid yourself of temptation
Your surroundings should create a positive and encouraging environment to keep yourself on track for improvement. Stock your cabinet with healthy, non-triggering foods that will halt your process. Find foods that are delicious, filling, with more health benefits. Also before taking a trip to the grocery store, check up on yourself to make sure you aren’t going through a difficult mental spell. It also helps to shop when you aren’t hungry to avoid impulse purchases.
4. Take up a new hobby
Distraction is often key when you’re trying to minimize your emotional eating habits. Keep yourself busy with activities like exercise, social events, clubs, reading, journaling, learning an instrument, or anything that interests you and keeps your attention.
5. Trying a Stable Diet
When managing your binge eating, there’s a misconception that you must drastically cut down on your calorie intake and overall amount of food consumption to quit overeating, when this is just not the case. It’s all about eating enough to make you full with nutritious foods that you enjoy. A diet that focuses on this concept of eating specific foods that satisfy your hunger while being overall beneficial for your health is the carnivore diet. The carnivore diet is all about eating meat and foods that were once alive. A guide to the carnivore diet includes eating meats like chicken, beef, pork, fish, turkey, and also some dairy products like cheese and butter. This diet does explicitly limit your carb and plant consumption, focusing on the fats and protein provided by meat and dairy. The carnivore diet does a good job at giving you the nutrients needed to keep you full for longer while also being beneficial for weight loss if that’s an interest for you.
6. Choose a healthier snack
Don’t feel like you can’t snack between meals, but instead of reaching for the highly salted or sugary snacks, indulge in nuts, fruits, veggies, wheat crackers with low salt, and so on. Also stay away from sugary drinks and keep around a reusable jug of water. If you crave a flavored drink, go for unsweetened iced tea with hints of fruit like lemon or passion fruit. Creating a habit of healthy snacking will make your body feel better throughout the day and fulfill any cravings. There are many healthy options that are also delicious!
7. Manage your stress
Stress eating is often a big correlation to binge eating, so take steps in learning how to deal with stress in a healthy manner. Examples could include meditation, running, yoga, taking a hot bath, or deep breaking exercises.
8. Lean on your friends
Getting through any hardship can be tougher dealt with on your own, so make an effort to lean on people you trust as you gain control over your emotional eating. Don’t be afraid of calling them when you’re feeling down or extra hard of yourself.
9. Don’t fret your setbacks
Experiencing setbacks are apart of the recovery process. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come and that mistakes may happen, but remember to learn from these instances and continue on your journey for enjoying food in a healthy way. Worrying too much about when you’ll slip up again will inherently create a negative mindset and therefore slow down your progress. Keep your head up and be kind to yourself. The most important thing to remember is that trying to improve your unhealthy eating habits will take time and effort, but is ultimately worth it for your future.
10. Consider professional help
After following these steps for a considerably long time without any improvements, it may be time to consider a therapist. Emotional eating stems from the loss of control and unhealthy coping mechanisms with your mental health. Therapy can give you the professional guidance that may be linked to a possible eating disorder.
Eating should be an enjoyable and fulfilling part of your day, but if you find yourself binge eating as your emotional coping mechanism, remember these steps to help you make eating a positive activity rather than a mostly negative one. If you aren’t physically hungry, ask yourself why you’re eating and what you’re gaining. The road to ridding of these bad eating habits will help you gain control over how you deal with your negative emotions and in return enjoy eating food again without the weighted guilt.