Emotional eating – and 6 tips to overcome it
Do you often find yourself raiding the fridge or scavenging the pantry for hidden crisps or sugars when feeling down? You’re not alone! Comfort foods do bring some comfort – but only temporarily so, often trapping you in a vicious cycle of constant stress eating. Read on to find out if you too are an emotional eater – and learn how to overcome it.
Are you an emotional eater?
Answer the questions below to find out.
- Do you ever eat more when under stress?
- Do you ever grab a snack when you’re not really hungry?
- Are you more prone to eating unhealthy foods when the going gets tough?
- Do you often crave a specific type of food?
- Do you treat yourself to certain kinds of foods as a reward for something you’ve accomplished?
- Do you often eat until you’re stuffed?
If your answer to most of them is “yes”, then you might just be an emotional eater. But before we dive into ways to overcome it, let’s take a look at why it even comes to it.
What causes emotional eating?
It can be anything from health or relationship problems to financial worries or just the good old work stress. When experiencing some kind of tension or anxiety, we often turn to fatty, starchy or sugary foods for comfort.
And there may be a reason why.
Research suggests that parts of our brain are rewarded from eating foods rich in sugar or fat. And when rewarded, any behaviour is more likely to be repeated.
Unfortunately, turning to comfort foods only works temporarily. Before you know it, that feeling of comfort turns into guilt or shame, trapping you in a vicious emotional eating cycle which can quickly result in weight gain.
The emotional eating cycle
Read on to learn 6 tips on how to stop it.
6 tips to overcome emotional eating:
1. Eat a balanced diet
Emotional hunger is very often confused with physical hunger. While actual hunger develops gradually, makes you want to eat a variety of foods and comes with no guilt or shame afterwards, the emotional one is the exact opposite of that:
- it hits you suddenly,
- makes you crave and binge on specific kinds of foods, and
- often comes with a feeling of guilt afterwards.
Eating well and getting enough nutrients throughout the day will make it easier for you to distinguish between the two. Make sure to include lots of fruits and veggies and opt for healthy low-calorie snacks if the cravings still strike.
2. Get physical
Some people find a brisk walk or a quick jog in the neighbourhood to be a great way to shake off negative feelings. Others prefer to dance it off to their favourite music or do some yoga instead.
In fact, regular yoga may even help you long-term. Cambridge study** showed yoga may help diffuse emotional states, increase mindfulness and insightful understanding, and make us more accepting and open toward experiences.
3. Try other ways to cope with stress
Find ways to relax after a stressful day. Some people find it helps for them to talk to a friend, read a good book or watch a film.
Others like to write their thoughts and feelings into a journal or do some breathing exercises or meditation. Find whatever works for you and stick to it.
4. Clean your fridge or pantry
Get rid of the food that doesn’t support your healthy diet. Any sweet, fatty or processed foods you usually reach for when under stress should be thrown out – no questions asked.
5. Avoid distractions while eating
Don’t eat in front of the computer, television or while on the phone to prevent eating too large. Enjoy your meal somewhere quiet.
You can easily control your portions and hunger level by focusing on your meal. Take time to chew on your food, and you’ll do a favour to your stomach and digestion, plus stay full for longer.
6. Try a natural food supplement
Ashwagandha root extract has long been known for its benefits to the human body. It’s been proven to help manage stress & feelings of anxiety, as well as support a sluggish thyroid (a major cause of extra kilos).
SlimJOY Ashwagandha Premium contains the world’s most researched and strongest ashwagandha extract – KSM-66®. Studies** confirmed it can help you prevent emotional overeating and:
- reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 27.9%*,
- lose 2x more weight,
- recover your emotional stability and increase happiness & optimism by 19.2%*,
- improve your sleep.
* *Disclaimer: The effects of the product may vary between individuals and could differ from those described on the website.
- Shelov, Danielle V., et al. “A Pilot Study Measuring the Impact of Yoga on the Trait of Mindfulness.” Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, vol. 37, no. 5, 2009, pp. 595–598., doi:10.1017/S1352465809990361.
- Chandrasekhar, K., et al. “A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-spectrum Extract Of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults.” Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, vol. 34, no. 3, 2012, pp. 255–262., doi:10.4103/0253-7176.106022.
- Choudhary, Dnyanraj, et al. “Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress through Treatment WITH Ashwagandha Root Extract.” Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, vol. 22, no. 1, 2016, pp. 96–106., doi:10.1177/2156587216641830.