While it’s perfectly normal for everyone to eat comfort foods now and then, emotional eating is a dangerous habit that can quickly develop into a problem that causes weight gain or prevents weight loss.  Finding solutions for emotional eating can be extremely difficult.  Simply, recognizing that you are emotionally eating is a huge first step.  However, once you’ve recognized the problem you need to find emotional eating alternatives to avoid it entirely.

blueberry-cottage-cheeseWhen you are stressed out your body releases a hormone called cortisol.  This hormone will make you crave comfort foods like carbohydrates, sugar, and fatty foods.  Once you eat a chemical change occurs in your body giving you a soothing feeling.  Eating chocolate is a wonderful example of this soothing feeling after a stressful day.  This chemical reaction in your body makes it easy to fall into the emotional eating trap.

Combating the Cravings

We know foods like chocolate cause a release of endorphins which make you feel good.  We also know that mindless eating can take your mind off whatever emotions you are struggling with.  So, when you are having a difficult day emotionally, or your bodies endorphin levels get low, and you will begin to crave foods like chocolate and fatty foods try munching on a healthy snack.  Keep some fresh chopped carrots handy.  This will give you the same crunch as potato chips but without the calories.

Create a Plan

Emotional eating is a way to avoid your feelings.  Therefore, it’s essential to find ways to cope with your feelings.  A walk or a call to an old friend might be just the solution if you eat because you’re bored.  If sadness is your nemesis find something to do that make you happy.  A hobby or even stopping to take some deep breaths can be just what you need.  Create a plan of emotional eating alternatives that way you’ll know what to do before you feel overwhelmed by your emotions.

Deal with your Emotions

Ultimately the underlying emotions must be dealt with in order to stop this endless cycle.  One idea is writing in a journal.  Another alternative is to talk with a close friend.  If depression or emotional eating have been difficult for you for a while, or if it runs in your family consider seeking medical help or talking with a professional.

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