3 Ways to stop emotional eating today

  • 2 Minutes Read
Brenda Braslow
Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Finding ways to stop emotional eating or eating for reasons other than physical hunger is a challenge for many people trying to lose weight. Learn three ways you can stop emotional eating today!

Ways to stop emotional eating

Looking for ways to stop emotional eating?

Have you turned to food as comfort when not even hungry? Do your life circumstances lead you to eat more merely for emotional survival? Check out more clues below to determine if you need strategies for how to stop emotional eating.

Do any of these eating scenarios sound familiar to you?

Before a person can change a behavior, they need to learn what they are already doing and why. For example, do you eat because you're actually hungry or instead, because you are anxious, sad, happy, or just plain bored?

3 steps to help prevent eater's remorse

1. Track your hunger and emotional cues

One way to become more aware of your current habits and eating patterns is to track them. Keep notes in your MyNetDiary tracker. To test if you're actually hungry, apply the four Ds: distance, delay, distract, and decide.

2. Analyze your eating patterns

Observe your MyNetDiary tracker notes. What did you learn about yourself?

Do you know your emotional triggers?

3. Pause when cravings hit. Try a pre-planned healthy alternative

Once you have determined your reasons for eating, then it's time to plan some healthier alternatives to prevent future emotional eating. Write out your new plan, so you have a visual reminder.

Ways to stop emotional eating from others dealing with this challenge

"When I come home from a busy day of work and feel like I could eat everything in the kitchen, I stop and make myself a cup of hot herbal tea and drink it slowly. I wait until I feel calmer before I tackle supper and issues at home."

"When I make supper, I chew a piece of gum to prevent me from nibbling while cooking."

"My garden is my happy place. It helps wind me down and is a great stress-buster. Observing a butterfly or bird is also very soothing."

"After supper, I clean up and get out of the kitchen. I started walking on the treadmill during my favorite TV show. I now mentally connect the TV show with my walk on the treadmill. I look forward to it."

"I have a stressful job. I pack my lunch most days and leave time for a quick walk around the block or inside the building to decompress. I enjoy smiling or waving to others as I walk. I then come back from lunch refreshed and happier."

Healthy alternatives to emotional eating that take the focus off food

When it comes to emotional eating, there are several ways to stop falling into the same trap. Learning to recognize your emotional eating triggers is the first step. Then you can work on breaking the habit, so you are not sabotaging your healthy lifestyle plan!

Related Topics

What is stress eating and 3 tips to overcome it
Soothe yourself without food. What to do instead of eating

Contributions by Martha M. Henze, MPH, MS, RDN - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Global Public Health Epidemiologist

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Eating Disorders->Binge Eating Disorder Weight Loss->Emotional & Mindful Eating
Sep 3, 2021

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