Coping with Emotional Eating
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Gaining control through understanding yourself
Awareness begins when you "get in touch" with your feelings and how they relate to your eating habits. The best way to do this is to maintain a daily journal.
Remember that although the associations between food, comfort and security are largely unconscious, the actual decision to eat is always a conscious choice. There is always an all-important deciding moment when you make a decision to eat. Be aware of that moment.
Gaining control through action
Action starts by deciding not to eat in response to a difficult emotion or situation. It is helpful to have a list of instantly effective methods of control for when your emotional “hunger” hits. You can build a repertoire of "band-aid" diversions from eating and write them in your journal. For example:
Other diversions might include calling a friend, going to a movie, gardening, or doing some housework.
Although it is important to control your eating, you don't need to deprive yourself. Limit, but do not eliminate, some of the foods you crave. When you crave a piece of chocolate, first ask yourself if you really want it. If the answer is yes, then enjoy a few pieces. Eating balanced and good-tasting meals with enough fat, protein and carbohydrate will also help to fill you nutritionally and physiologically, and minimise cravings.
Exercise is also an excellent way to manage emotional eating. To keep weight off and calm the emotional storms that compel you to eat, try taking a daily 30-minute walk.
Last updated: September 25th, 2007
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