Let’s talk a little about emotional eating. This is a big topic that I see with my clients but also with my friends, family, and myself. And it’s been coming up a lot more since everything shut down.
The thing is, and I’m sure you’ve heard it from multiple sources for weeks now, but… this is an unprecedented situation. No one knows how we “should” be feeling, or what the “right way” to deal with this is, emotionally.
What I will say is that eating more emotionally right now – letting your cravings take you places you otherwise wouldn’t go:
- like eating an entire bag of chips for dinner instead of cooking something because you already made so much of your other food today;
- or snacking on nothing but banana bread because it’s there;
- or ordering takeout an extra night or two per week when you feel you probably should make something with that precious fresh produce, but you’re tired and overwhelmed and just don’t have the spell slots or spoons left over for prep
… it’s actually normal, as well as can be expected for how not-normal this situation is.
Giving yourself the space to recognize that can be key to helping you manage your emotional response in a way that’s healthful and still provides comfort.
Check out my FB Live replay video for more on this here:
- Use a Food & Mood Journal like the one I provide in my client portal to keep track of your habits and help you identify emotional eating triggers, which you may find could include a common time of day, where and with whom you eat, in addition to how you feel and what foods you choose.
- Talk to someone about it! An accountability partner, like a no-nonsense friend or your health coach, can help steer you back where you want to be when a trigger hits you.
- Find ways to distract yourself from the trigger: going for a walk, listening to music, using affirmations, doing something with your hands like a craft, writing, playing an instrument or a video game, etc.
- Stay hydrated! We can often confuse hunger for what’s really thirst, so quenching it first is a helpful way to defer emotional eating.
- Eat slowly, mindfully, and without distractions as much as possible.
- Out of sight, out of mind: reduce portion size if you know that you’ll just keep eating well past the point of fullness without thinking about it. Divide your portion and put the rest away immediately (e.g. one of my trigger foods is chips, so I find it helpful to take a handful in a small bowl, clip the bag, and put it away, rather than eat endlessly from the bag).
- In the larger picture, manage your stress and your mindset. Beating yourself up over “slipping” does you no good. Try changing your narrative surrounding food choices: “This looks delicious. I’m going to enjoy this! I deserve to feel good today and every day. I am capable of making good choices for my mind and body. This one choice or setback is not a reflection of my worth as a whole.”
- Get enough quality sleep and regular activity!
Have you found that your tendency for emotional eating has spiked during the current crisis? What have you found to help curb it?