People handle their emotions in different ways. For some, emotional eating is the answer. Though there’s no harm in occasionally indulging in a favorite comfort food or two, for many, this is a routine occurrence. It can be a dangerous habit, too. Chronic emotional eating can lead to weight gain and an array of health issues that come along with it. Certain measures can help you keep emotional eating in check.
One of the most effective ways to control emotional eating is to be mindful of why you’re eating. Are you actually hungry, or is some other force at work? Hunger is the body’s natural response to a need for calories and nutrients. Some people don’t eat because of actual hunger, though. It could be a response to boredom, fear, stress, or exhaustion.
Take a moment to ask, “why am i always hungry and tired?” In some instances, those previously mentioned feelings may be to blame. Keep in mind that the sensations associated with hunger can actually arise with thirst as well. They may even be your body’s way of telling you that you’re not getting enough protein or healthy fat; in contrast, it could be that you’re eating too many refined sugars or carbohydrates. Think about why you’re reaching for food before consuming it.
Plan Healthy Meals and Snacks
Another way to address emotional eating is to plan healthy meals and snacks in advance. A structured eating routine and truly nutritious meal and snack options can keep you satisfied. That, in turn, will make you less likely to eat unnecessarily or turn to empty calories for comfort. Snacks that are rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fiber will help you feel fuller for longer, so you won’t feel the need to use food to quell false hunger. Drink plenty of water as well to keep you hydrated and ward off the symptoms of dehydration.
Keep a Food Journal
Keeping a food journal can help you identify emotional eating patterns and change them. Write down everything you eat each day, and take note of your emotional state when you eat. In time, you’ll be able to pick out trends and eating triggers. Being aware of them may go a long way toward helping you break the cycle. If you notice that you tend to snack when you’re bored or stressed, find alternative ways to address those feelings. Instead of eating, spend some time reading or meditating to direct your attention away from food.
Seek Support When Needed
In addition to those measures, don’t overlook the value of a strong support system. Share your emotional eating challenges with a trusted loved one or even turn to a counselor for help. They can help you get through those challenges. Friends and relatives may be able to distract you from eating to curb your emotions while counselors can give you helpful coping mechanisms and address the underlying issues that lead to emotional eating.
Keeping Emotional Eating at Bay
Reports show that nearly 30 percent of adults are emotional eaters. It’s a common response to stress and other emotions, but it can also lead to serious health issues. Understanding what causes you to eat even though you’re not hungry is an effective step toward curbing the problem. Plan healthy meals and snacks to ensure you’re getting the proper amounts of nutrients, and drink plenty of water. If necessary, look to others for emotional support. All those measures can help you regain control of your eating habits and deal with emotions in a healthier, more effective way.