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How to Overcome Emotional or Compulsive Eating

Have you ever felt so lonely that it made you want to grab that tub of ice cream from the fridge and eat it while the tears flow? Or have you ever felt so happy that you ate a lot while laughing and talking to others about your exciting experiences? Yes, we all love to eat, no matter the circumstances. Food is a basic need in life. Even if we are not very emotional, we eat because it is a way of life.

Everyone knows that we eat to nourish ourselves and stay healthy. However, eating too much can lead to obesity, which can lead to unhealthy eating habits. Being overweight can be stressful. I know, I’ve been there. Of course, I was slim, but as I get older, my metabolism slows down, so the extra pounds pile up. But I was able to go beyond that. I’m not writing here about how I lost weight, but I want to focus on emotional eating. One of my internet friends inspired me to write this. She broke up with her boyfriend, she was able to move on, but now she’s getting emotional again. Well, well…

We all have great days and terrible days. Nowadays, some people eat a lot when they feel emotional or stressed. I don’t know why, but eating makes us feel better. But the fact remains that if you eat too much, you will gain extra weight, which is not easy to lose. So what makes us emotional eaters? Try asking yourself these questions:

– Have you recently experienced a painful breakup or the loss of a loved one?

– Did you feel stressed at work?

– Were there unresolved family or personal issues that bothered you?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you are most likely an emotional eater. Do you weigh yourself – do you eat even when you’re not hungry? I was an emotional eater. During times of anxiety attacks, I turn to my “comfort foods” like ice cream, chocolate, cookies, donuts, and other sweet treats. Until I realized that I had gained too much weight and my clothes no longer fit. It’s not just about staying fit and maintaining the body I want. It’s all about staying healthy. So let me share how I overcame being an emotional eater:

Acceptance

I have accepted the fact that I eat a lot when I feel stressed or emotional. I believe this is the first step in overcoming emotional eating. Once you’ve accepted this fact, it would be easier to stop and think first every time you feel the urge to bite into that big slice of pizza just because you’re disappointed or things didn’t go your way.

“Am I really hungry?”

Ask yourself this before you reach for that box of ice cream or bite into that big chocolate bar. I read somewhere on the internet (sorry, I forgot where I got this information) that when you think you are hungry, drink a glass of water first because thirst can be confused with hunger. The same goes for compulsive eating. When you feel anxious, drink a glass of water first. Then think and ask yourself: “Am I really hungry?” before eating.

Exercise

It’s one of the habits I developed and I was so proud when I first avoided compulsive eating. I had a rough night at work that time (I used to work nights) and when I got home in the morning I was almost tempted to order a hamburger from a fast food restaurant, but I changed my mind. Instead, I changed and put on my running shoes. I jogged and walked around the neighborhood. I was amazed because for the first time I noticed the color of my neighbors’ houses, the 5 cat ladies and the happy children walking to school. It was like I just moved in, but I’ve been living in the same neighborhood for over 5 years. After a healthy sweat, I went home, took a quick shower, had breakfast (healthy without burgers and donuts) and felt happy. And yes, I didn’t overeat.

To distract attention

What if you suddenly feel nervous, agitated, or temperamental? You can focus your attention on other things. What I do is write it down on a piece of paper or in my journal (yes, I still keep a journal.) Or you can listen to good music or watch a good show – just don’t reach for the popcorn. Or, if it’s possible and safe for you, you can go for a walk. Just walk calmly and breathe. Do something to distract you from eating—unless you’re REALLY hungry, of course.

Pamper yourself

I have never stayed away from ice cream, doughnuts, cookies, chocolate and other sweet things that I love. Beating compulsive eating doesn’t mean you have to give up the things you love (at least that’s what I think). What I do is I rarely eat and only eat to reward myself. Like when I was able to finish all my DIY wedding invitations, I felt happy and thought I deserved a reward. So I drank three scoops of my favorite ice cream. Yes, there was more ice cream, but I didn’t eat the whole tub. I had three scoops because I think I deserved it. And that was all.

Overcoming emotional eating is not an easy task. In some cases, you may need to seek professional advice to improve your well-being through relaxation techniques, honing your critical thinking skills, and controlling your emotions. Get professional help and involve your family.

Just to remind you, I am not a professional. I’m just sharing my experience. It would be best to speak with a professional in this area.

And what about you? Were you a compulsive eater? How did you overcome emotional eating? Feel free to share your comments and suggestions in the comment section. Thanks for reading!

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