Deal with Emotions to Curb Overeating
It is common for people of all ages to turn to food when they feel stressed and emotionally out of balance. When eating, people often experience a feeling of comfort and tranquility as they nourish their bodies and consume “comforting” foods that can relieve stress and tension.
While this type of eating seems effective for soothing emotions in the moment, it can cause serious damage to the body if left untreated. Those who are emotional eaters usually find themselves overweight, unhealthy, and even depressed over time from all the empty calorie eating binges.
This is most likely the result of what foods are being eaten when under stress, not how much. These foods are usually high in sugar, salt, and fat and have little to no nutritional value. Fortunately, there are healthy ways to deal with negative emotions that can help individuals reduce or even completely avoid their overeating habits.
Coping And Dealing With Emotions
Coping mechanisms are the body’s way of dealing with events, thoughts, and experiences that are emotionally stressful. Usually, coping mechanisms work for a while, but, can become problematic themselves.
Overeating is an incredibly common coping mechanism that affects a large percentage of the American population, as well as, people worldwide. Unfortunately, eating away pain and stress is only a temporary fix for complex problems.
The following are healthy ways to deal with emotions when they begin to feel out of hand. Tweak these as needed so that they fit your unique concerns:
- Meditation: Meditating is an old technique that emphasizes the importance of being mindful and intentionally placing focus on calming thoughts and ideas. People often find that meditation is a great way to clear thoughts, reduce anxiety, and relieve stress because it helps them to relax their muscles, remove negative thoughts, and focus on the positives. Meditation is also wonderful when paired with exercise.
- Talk It Out: When kept inside, emotional distress can come out in strange and sometimes unexpected ways. Bottling up stress leads to expressing it through physical means-whether through anger, depression, too much or too little physical activity, and of course eating. Talking about problems with a friend, parent, support group, or professional can bring about an emotional release that also assuages the physical urges unprocessed stress can cause.
- Express Yourself: This is one of the healthier physical activities people can try to help deal with emotions. Writing, painting, drawing, gardening, working out, and other similar self-expressions are a great and effective way to deal with troublesome emotions. By allowing oneself to feel their emotions and process through them in a productive way, it can combat the urge to eat and bury the emotions.
- Think Them Through: Critical thinking is an amazing skill that can truly work wonders in different areas of one’s life. By developing a way to think things through and process thoughts and feelings, individuals can learn to identify what they’re feeling and how to proceed. When it comes to emotional overeating, individuals only get as far as processing a feeling of negativity before heading to the fridge or getting second and third helpings of a meal. By stopping to think about what is going on, how one feels, and the reasons one might be feeling this way, they are better able to stop themselves from engaging in destructive and distracting activities like overeating.
- Exercise: Exercise can be a great coping tool, especially when feelings of anger or frustration need to be vented. Vigorous exercise releases the body’s natural painkillers, known as, endorphins, which, calm and soothe the mind. Then there is a good old punching bag that can do wonders for releasing anger and frustration, and a much healthier option than eating a box of donuts. Over time turning to exercise can become a habit, and activities, like running, punching a bag, or simply doing sit-ups, can become a truly effective and ultra-healthy solution to managing distressful feelings.
Using these healthy tools to deal with emotions should help individuals see that they have the power to avoid overeating before it starts.
Through mindfulness, focus, and intentionality, anyone can put an end to this habit and begin the journey to a healthier mind and body.