We don’t always eat to satisfy hunger. We also eat to relieve stress, find comfort and seek reward. Eating to soothe emotions never resolves the issue, and in fact, makes us feel worse as we add regret, guilt and shame to the mix.
ARE YOU AN EMOTIONAL EATER?
Do you eat to feel (emotionally) better?
Do you eat more when you are stressed or anxious?
Do you eat to reward yourself?
Do you eat to compensate for a bad day?
Do you feel powerless around food?
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Identify your triggers
Make a list of the times when you are most vulnerable to emotional eating, (ie family gatherings, after work, after a tough conversation). What are the emotions you are trying to soothe?
Identify the reward
For each trigger listed above, identify the reward you are seeking through food. What are you hoping to gain from food during those times? Comfort? Stress relief? Relaxation?
Identify an alternative
For each trigger listed above, identify an alternative activity that you could choose that would provide you with a similar reward.
Here is an example:
Trigger: After work I feel stressed (emotion)
Reward: I want to unwind (relieve stress), so I reach for a bag of cookies
Alternative: I could go for a walk or have a cup of flavoured tea