Emotional eating is a serious problem for many people. Dietary experts believe that 75% of overeating is due to an uncomfortable emotional state. Generally it’s comfort food or junk food, the worst for us, that we turn to when we are emotionally distressed. This in turn leads to weight gain, possibly obesity increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and many other serious health issues. Our self-esteem and body image suffers as well. Not only is this bad for our health and our mindset, but it is getting in the way of utilizing healthy coping strategies to deal with problems. Depression, anxiety, boredom, stress, frustration, and anger can trigger emotional eating. Recognizing what the problem is and developing appropriate coping strategies can make you healthier, happier and take emotional eating out of the equation.
First, identify the emotional problem. What are you feeling and why? What is causing the distress that you are in? Once it is identified a healthier coping strategy can be put in place to substitute for emotional eating. Some healthy alternatives might be listening to music, writing in a journal or writing a letter, exercise, yoga, talking with a friend or family member, a warm bath, doing breathing exercises, reading, playing a game, and doing housework or laundry. However, sometimes these strategies are not enough to curb emotional eating. Relaxation techniques, meditation or even counseling may be needed to stop emotional eating from occurring. Get in touch with your doctor or a mental health professional if you have tried to stop emotional eating but feel compelled to when you are in a distressful state. By learning the proper techniques or strategies you can stop eating emotionally and live a healthier, happier life.