Do you eat when you are emotional? I know I do! If I have had a bad day, or someone has upset me then the first thing I do is head for the fridge or cupboards to see what I can easily grab to fill that void in my soul.
Usually, the easily accessible food is either crisps, chocolate, or some kind of sugary snack. Once I’ve started it’s like a downward spiral into bingeing on whatever junk food I can find. The more I eat, the more guilty I feel and then that leads to eating more and then before I know it I’m thinking “ah sod it"!
Although there isn’t really anything wrong with a binge every now and again, repeated bingeing isn’t ideal if you’re working towards fitness goals, it’s definitely not beneficial for mood and motivation.
You’re probably thinking “But how do I stop?”
The key to breaking this cycle is to try and identify when your eating habits are driven by emotion rather than hunger, having a plan in place is really helpful to best manage your emotional impulses.
Here are tips that might help you resist the urge to reach for the junk food and create some kinder habits to soothe your emotion:
Try to identify the trigger by making a few notes in your phone the next time you eat from an emotional impulse. Who were you with? What were you thinking? What were you doing? How were you feeling? You could try keeping an emotional eating diary for a few weeks to help you become more aware of when it happens.
Create a plan, once you have identified the trigger, it will be much easier for you to put a plan in place to combat any urges. For me, I would eat from boredom, loneliness and stress. If I’m bored,I might take myself out for a walk or read a book, if I feel lonely, I might call a friend or my mum, and if I feel stressed, I will take a nice long bath or go to the gym.
Remove the junk… stock up on healthier more nutritious foods like fruit and healthy snacks. Having a fridge full of healthier options will come in handy when you're on the hunt for something to binge on. Healthier alternatives are more likely to make you feel fuller quicker and be less likely to create feelings of guilt.
Being aware and having a plan is more powerful than you might think. When we are emotional we do things mindlessly, without thought or stopping to think if it’s what we truly want. By taking a moment to observe yourself, you are giving yourself an opportunity to avoid reaching for the cupboards and instead, choosing something that will lift you up and make you feel better, in the form of self care rather than self sabotage.