Soothe Yourself without Food

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Emotional eating can prevent you from reaching or maintaining a healthy weight. Find out ways you can tame mental hunger without consuming calories. Content based upon the book, "50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food" by Susan Albers, Pys.D.

Soothe Yourself without Food

So many of us are emotional eaters - we eat to fill an emotional or mental hunger rather than a true physical hunger. But eating for this reason can sabotage your ability to reach or maintain a healthy weight. It offers a temporary fix that has too high of a caloric cost.

The Vegetable Test - Are You Really Hungry?

My aunt used to teach Weight Watchers and when she found me in extreme food foraging mode, she would challenge me with, "if you are truly hungry, you would be willing to eat vegetables". And she was right. To this day, when I find myself in foraging mode, I still ask myself, if only Girl Scout cookies can satisfy this hunger, then it is mental hunger, not truly physical hunger. And I find something else to do rather than eat food.

Other Things You Can Do Instead of Eating

I really like the book on emotional eating, "50 Ways to Soothe Yourself without Food" by Susan Albers, Pys.D. Dr. Albers breaks solutions to emotional eating into general categories that I find very helpful. This is not an exhaustive list of the topics she covers but this will give you an idea of activities that you can do within these categories. Not all of these activities will appeal to you - but experiment with them to find what works best for you.

Mindful meditation techniques. Meditate, let go, be in the moment, develop compassion for yourself, set your inner critic straight

Change your thoughts to change your eating. Journal (write down your thoughts), identify what is at the bottom of it all, try seeing the glass half full vs. half empty, find healthier security blankets, daydream about non-food activities

Soothing sensations to calm and relax the body. Pamper yourself, use relaxing scents, do yoga, move more, soak in water, sleep, clean or scrub as a release, self-massage, and reduce sensory overload

Soothing yourself with distractions. Shop, engage in brain candy (movies & books), knit, make a bucket list, plan a vacation, get into arts & crafts, explore the online world, listen to music, garden or take care of indoor herbs/plants, engage in mind games (puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku, cards)

Soothing yourself with social relationships. Reach out to a friend, use online chat rooms, post or read community forums (MyNetDiary has a forum with lots of public threads and groups), vent productively to the right person, write a letter, spend time with an animal companion, volunteer, try a new hobby, get a hug/give a hug, let pillows hug you

There are situations when a person needs professional help for emotional eating - especially when it evolves into binge eating and/or an eating disorder. Please seek out professional help if you feel that you use food in way that is harmful to your health or prevents you from meeting important health goals. Chronic stress, isolated high stress events, and a history of trauma and abuse - all of these can play a huge role in one's ability to handle emotional eating.

Weight Loss->Emotional & Mindful Eating
Mar 12, 2013
Katherine Isacks
Katherine Isacks, MPS, RDN, CDE - Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

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