Coping with Emotional Eating
1. Don’t beat yourself up about emotional eating.
- If you elect to punish yourself with criticisms or guilt after emotional eating, it may result in more emotional eating leading to a vicious cycle of unhealthy behaviors.
- Rather than criticizing your mistakes, show yourself compassion. Remind yourself that you are only human and we all make mistakes. Acknowledge that you engaged in emotional eating and, after that, let it go. Don’t hold on to the mistake. Make a plan to do better starting now.
2. Try to identify the underlying need.
- Using a journal can be helpful in figuring out the underlying need of emotional eating. See Part 2 for more details.
3. Learn how to stop feeling lonely.
- If you are emotional eating out of loneliness, you can connect with others who have similar interests as you, get involved in activities you enjoy, or adopt a pet to have as a companion.
4. Find ways to deal with stress or anxiety.
- If eating for entertainment is linked to your stress levels, you may need to find ways to relax. Some ideas may include getting regular physical activity, adequate sleep, and engaging in regular self-care activities like drinking a cup of hot tea or soaking in a long, hot bath. Other suggestions for stress-relief may include practicing meditation or yoga.
5. Recognize when you’re bored.
- If your eating is based on boredom, think of fun and interesting things you can do to overcome boredom that don’t involve eating. Create a list of fun activities to do and tick them off one by one to ward off getting bored with your daily routine. Get out of your house and explore your city. Read a book. Do something that you love.
6. Ask a family member or friend to hold you accountable.
- Even if you live alone, a friend or relative may allow you to call them or come over when you have the urge to eat for entertainment. This person might keep your thoughts occupied in other ways by talking, playing a game, or listening to music.