Well, Summer is here. If you are an emotional eater just the thought of holidays with an overweight body is enough to compound your emotional eating.  You feel so bad about your body and exposing it in summer clothes you eat even more to comfort yourself.

In order to achieve a happy body image and maintain it, it is essential to understand why, what and where you emotionally eat and have to hand some strategies to use when you are feeling the emotion and cravings kicking in.

What is emotional eating?

This means that you use eating as a way of coping with emotions, whether they are positive or negative, which can all too often become a vicious cycle. For example, you are stressed and busy, so begin to comfort eat once given the chance, and because of this you experience guilt and regret, and suddenly you are comfort eating for an entirely different set of emotions! Combined with this, society also highlights the importance of food for happy and social occasions – there really is no let-up!

 Are you an emotional eater?

Below are some examples of people who eat for comfort

  • You eat more when you’re feeling emotional or overwhelmed
  • You eat even though you are not hungry
  • You eat when you’re full from a big dinner for instance
  • You eat to make yourself feel better
  • You regularly use food as a treat
  • You regularly eat so much you feel bloated
  • You feel you cannot resist food

4 ways to make positive changes and overcome emotional eating

1. Find alternatives to use that don’t involve food, for instance:

  • If you feel worried go for a walk and immerse yourself in nature
  • If you feel low phone a friend for a cheer up
  • If you are bored read a good book for watch a DVD.
  • If you are tired soak in a nice hot bath and take yourself for an early night

 2. Write down what you eat

  • Make a note of everything you eat and drink
  • Research shows that we underestimate at least 20% of what we eat
  • Also, write down your emotions that day to find the link to your likelihood to comfort eat 

3. The 3 D’s

  • Step 1 – Delay your urge for, say, 15 to 30 minutes
  • Step 2 – Distract yourself, do some cleaning, watch the TV for example
  • Step 3 – Decide.  By now the emotion may have subsided or you may have completely forgotten about your urge.

 4. Get into healthier habits for your own wellbeing

  • Put yourself first. It’s all well and good putting your husband/partner, children or job before you, however if you are not in a healthy place both mentally and physically then you may not be able to look after your family or do your job to the best of your ability.
  • Move more. Even a 15-minute walk in the fresh air is beneficial for both your physical and mental health.
  • Spend time with people who make you happy and support you.  People who are positive and encouraging will make you less likely to eat for comfort. 

Many of us have overeaten at some time when we are feeling sad or anxious. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this occasionally, but for some of us an occasional bout of emotional eating leads to us doing it full time so that it becomes a daily habit.

The most important thing is recognizing your triggers and having an array of techniques to hand to use when this trigger strikes.

If you would like more help with healthy eating and overcoming emotional eating then CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and Hypnosis may be helpful to you.

For more information, please contact leigh@setyourmindfree.co.uk or phone 01908 265410.