Emotional eating and how to beat it

We ALL know it’s true.

Some of us have a hard time remembering/being able to eat when they are stressed. Most people I have spoken to though have problems with emotional eating and bingeing. I used to…

I get asked all the time so I figured rather than type it out for the five hundredth time this month to just write it up 🙂

When I first started I would ask myself EVERY SINGLE TIME I ate WHY I was hungry. Was I bored, tired, thirsty, hungry, frustrated, celebrating, happy, angry, or any combination of the above? It was NOTHING for me to have a 7000 calorie “emotion meal”…. It didn’t take me long to realize that I only had a few reasons why I was eating. after a few weeks of just acknowledging that I was eating for reasons other than hunger I told myself no eating because of “tired”. So if I asked myself WHY and the answer was tired I would go to bed. After a few weeks I picked another reason and cut that off the list. Every few weeks (or longer if it was particularly hard) I would substitute something, for “bored” I would substitute an activity. For “thirsty” I would drink a big glass of water. For “lonely” I’d use the phone a friend method.

Most of it though was simply determining the motivation behind the behavior.

It took me a long time (probably over a year) to get to the point where I no longer have the DESIRE to eat my emotions. It was HARD, every day every moment kind of work that took a LOT out of me at times. But it was GOOD! Because now I realize that I CAN eat to celebrate with friends and I don’t have to eat an entire plate of junk, I can get a few raw veggies from the tray and just stand and fellowship and spend time celebrating and not obsessing about HAVING to eat even though I am not hungry.

A LOT of it was also learning how to tell people no. In social situations when people offered me food it used to be VERY hard to say no. I now say “I appreciate you including me but no thank you” or “I am glad that YOU enjoy it” one of my favorites at work is “I am enjoying your enjoyment of that snack but”. When they insist I say something to the effect of “no thanks I don’t need that right now” and change the subject.

In the beginning I would have people REALLY push back. I think that some people feel that my refusal of their “treat” means that I am judging THEM for having it. I am just very consistent in saying no thank you.

In my head and to others I say “I DON’T eat that” rather than “I CAN’T eat that”. It helps with my mindset and I don’t feel like I am depriving myself because I CAN’T have something.

Willpower is a muscle like anything else. You wouldn’t START lifting weights and get a 500# back squat in your first week (unless you were some kind of freak of nature). So you shouldn’t expect to start working your willpower and just immediately be some kind of rock star.