How to Prevent Emotional Eating

Sara K. Larsen - Thursday, February 13, 2014

The majority of us deal with emotional eating from time to time.  It’s easy to turn to sugar when you have had a stressful day or when you are feeling down. For years, I turned to food at the end of the day to distract myself and tune out bad feelings. It’s something I constantly battle with and here are the strategies that have helped me overcome the tendency to emotionally eat.


How to Prevent Emotional Eating:

  1. Ask Yourself What’s Really Going On. Are you stressed, bored, or sad? People often turn to food to express what’s going on with them. Someone who can’t sit quietly at the end of the day because of loneliness might turn to eating to distract them from uncomfortable feelings. Realizing what’s really gong on will help you pinpoint what you need to deal with instead of using food to cope.
  2. Allow Yourself to Feel. The loneliness, sadness, or other uncomfortable feelings will eventually pass. Allow yourself to feel without using food and you’ll see that the feeling will eventually go away and won’t be as strong the next time you’re feeling it.
  3. Find a Healthy Alternative. When you start to feel uncomfortable try to find a healthier alternative behavior to diffuse the emotion. You could read a book, take a walk, watch a movie, or call a friend. Shutting down the kitchen by turning off the lights, brushing my teeth, and reading a good book has really helped me. You will eventually figure out which activity provides the most emotional support.

The key to preventing emotional eating is mindfulness. By taking three deep breaths, slowing down, and figuring out what’s really going on, just the recognition “this is not hunger, this is stress” can help prevent you continuing to reach for food.

If you would like support to stop emotional eating for good, I would love to work with you one-on-one. Contact me and we can set up a free consultation!

Do you struggle with emotional eating? 





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