Although it is not healthy, we all occasionally turn to emotional eating to solve various problems in our daily lives. It’s very common; you went through a bad breakup, and the next thing you know you’re drowning in Häagen-Dazs. We all turn to food for various reasons, including comfort, stress relief, a reward, or even as a cure for boredom. This practice, however, is terrible for mental health and can cause life-long problems, as it is a sure diet-breaker. There’s no reason to fall further into this downward spiral because we’re going to provide you with five great ways to finally put an end to emotional eating.
Number Five: Drink Green Tea. For those of you trying to eat your stress away, green tea may be the solution you’ve been searching for. Studies have shown that people with a regular intake of green tea have significantly lower stress levels than those who only drink the calming beverage occasionally. If you’ve ever wondered how a warm cup of green tea can have such an intense calming effect, it’s all science. Green tea has been proven to boost levels of dopamine in the brain and promote relaxation, and it can even lower blood pressure. This is all due to a magic little amino acid in the plant called L-theanine.
Number Four: Sleep More. It’s no news that poor sleep habits have a direct effect on our mental health and stress level. Have you ever wondered why? In regards to emotional eating, a restless night affects the production of appetite-regulating hormones and increases impulsivity and cravings. So after a night of poor sleep, it’s only natural that our dietary clock is going to be a little messed up. To fix this problem, try to promote a better sleeping schedule for yourself, or indulge yourself in a well-deserved nap if you’ve had a sleepless night.
Number Three: Emotional Freedom Techniques. EFT is a practice that is not currently well known; however, it is gaining popularity. The concept behind emotional freedom techniques are similar to acupuncture, and have even gleaned the nickname “acupressure.” If you’ve ever massaged your temples to relieve stress, you may be already familiar with the technique! EFT is self-administered, and it is used with a mantra to clear the mind and heal negative energies that may be plaguing one’s life. It is mostly about changing one’s state of mind. Even if it sounds like a load of phooey to you, it is worth a shot because it is very relaxing.
The most common meridian spots to acknowledge when practicing EFT are the “karate-chop spot”, which is halfway down the side of your palm, and the “sore spot” which lies just below your collar bone on either side. To practice this technique for healing the desire of emotional eating, simply tap the karate chop spot consistently with light pressure repeating in your mind “I am not eating because I’m hungry, I am eating because I am upset.” To use the sore spot instead, repeat the same mantra while gently massaging each sore spot in a circular motion.
Number Two: Don’t Focus on Your Weight. The hardest part about dieting and healthy eating is conquering the negative mental side-effects. When we diet, we tend to keep track of our progress insistently in anticipation of seeing the results. However, doing this is extremely counterproductive to the goal. When we obsess over our weight, we tend to have an emotional crash when we see ourselves fail. This leads to emotional eating as a comfort for our failures. The best way to overcome this is to try and become comfortable with your self-image as is, and to let weight-loss and healthy eating come naturally. Don’t obsess over your daily progress; simply try to make the right eating choices, and let the results come as a happy surprise in their own time.
Number One: Say Bye to Boredom. Unnecessary eating is almost always a side effect of boredom. When we are looking for something to do, it is very common for a person to occupy their time by eating. When we are bored, we also trigger negative emotions, which we tend to cure with consistent nibbling. To fix this problem, it is advised to break up your schedule. Try planning out your meal and snack times, and stick to them. If you find yourself becoming bored, occupy yourself before the onset of cravings. Pick up a hobby to occupy your mind and hands, or stick to a healthy snack like air-popped popcorn.